Farm Industry News Blog

The pervasiveness of technology never ceases to surprise

From the Hay Expo to a visit to Pioneer DuPont, technology changes keep pushing the envelope.

It's easy to take agriculture technology, heck all technology, for granted these days. It's so pervasive that we're all adjusting to how it has changed our personal lives, let alone how you farm. Visit any farm show - like my trip to Hay Expo last week - and a common view is that person with the cell phone taking a picture or a video of a machine at work.

In fact one major manufacturer had a product rollout to dealers only earlier this year and despite a confidentiality agreement many dealers took videos of an innovative new product and posted it on their own sites well ahead of the official launch. Technology happens.

Traveling to a farm show and elsewhere will give you plenty of insight into how technology can be applied in ways you never thought. At that very same Hay Expo I ran into a Bluetooth iPad app that allows an owner of a Bale Band-It to have ultimate monitoring of every machine function. And that tablet can be mounted in the cab for easy viewing.

Or take the John Deere HarvestLab - it's an on-the-go near-infrared measuring device that can tell a farmer plenty about the quality of forage being cut. The system can provide information on moisture, feed quality and volume as the forage harvester moves through the field. These field sensors are getting more intense every day.

Then there was the trip this week to the DuPont Innovation Center at DuPont Pioneer in Johnston, Iowa. This center, one of 12, has a focus on food production and nutrition offering visitors and market collaborators a place to share ideas and learn about company innovations.

Before taking us into the center, DuPont Pioneer showed media its genomics lab where genetic information for every seed grown is being mapped for trait analysis. That's a lot of data coming in and it has to be managed. Not sure how good the power grid is in Johnston, Iowa, but I'm guessing the servers at work at Pioneer pull their share of electricity.

Farm shows are a key tool I use to keep up with new technology - whether its National Farm Machinery Show in winter or Hay Expo in June or the fall shows - from Farm Progress Show to Husker Harvest Days to Sunbelt Ag Expo - it's an easy way to catch up on what's driving innovation in the industry.

We're already nearing the end of June (and heck many of you may finally be done with soybean planting - it could happen). Next step is to gather up that as-planted data and move it out of the tractor to your desktop, cloud, other device. Because before you know it we'll be talking harvest.

Of course, 10 years ago if I talked about moving as-planted data out of the tractor a bunch of you would have thought I was crazy…today I'm just a little less crazy. But you're probably going crazy with the data. As we near fall and harvest I'll go into some interesting tips I've picked up on managing files ahead of harvest - that can also help next year with planting.

And if you have questions comment below and I'll seek answers for you…really.

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The Farm Industry News Blog features commentary from Willie Vogt, Jodie Wehrspann, Kathy Huting, Lynn Grooms, Daryl Bridenbaugh and Jeff Ryan.

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