If you’re reading this, you must be using some sort of technology, and it’s probably safe to say you have an element of it with you at all times. That’s just how the world functions these days, and it’s making us smarter, faster and more efficient at what we do. Ohio farmers are no strangers to technology either. They know the benefits it offers and are implementing it on their farms across the state. While they may be used for slightly different purposes, farmers are using the same technologies you are to grow safe and healthy food.
Smartphones have become ingrained in American culture, especially among the college crowd. Honestly, can you imagine life without Instagram, Uber or Google in the palm of your hand? Farmers have also become reliant on smartphones and use them daily to track ever-changing variables like weather and crop prices. With farming being the team endeavor it is, communication is key, and cell phones help to keep everyone aligned even if they’re acres apart.
“Our smartphones are one of our most important tools on the farm. They help us keep track of things like field rotations, fertilizer applications and soil sampling, and they keep everyone in touch.” –Grant Price, Ohio farmer from Seneca County.
Tablets combine the benefits of computers and smart phones into one conveniently sized gadget. While you may use yours to watch Netflix between classes or jot down notes during a club meeting, farmers use them to monitor field maps and track information. Farming has become very data driven, so tablets provide a convenient way for them to take their maps, plans and data along with them while working in the field. Then, in the evenings, they may just kick up their feet and relax a bit by streaming their favorite shows or racking up their Candy Crush score.
Just like GPS guides you in your car or Uber, it also guides farmers in their tractors. In fact, it’s made automated, self-steering machinery a reality which makes farmers even more accurate when planting seed, applying fertilizers or harvesting their crops. It also helps them locate specific spots in their fields that may be challenged by a pest or disease, so they can apply protection products only where they’re needed instead of spraying the entire field. This saves them time, money and resources.
“We have autosteer in our tractors and combines, which helps us plant straighter rows, save money on seed, dial in more accurate rates when making product applications and helps us track our yields.” –Darby Walton, Ohio farmer from Wyandot County.
Do you have a Fitbit or Apple Watch tracking your daily steps? Dairy farmers use activity trackers to monitor the health of their cows too. They’re typically worn around their neck or ankle and use GPS to monitor a cow’s activity. This helps dairy farmers determine the best times to breed a cow and can be an indicator of illness. Cattle are creatures of habit and generally walk and rest the same amount every day, so if a cow is resting too much, she might be sick or hurt and needing attention. This information is all recorded digitally and reported back to a farmer’s software system, so they can monitor each cow individually.
While you’re scrolling through the apps on your phone or listening to directions from your GPS, Ohio farmers are probably doing the same thing. They’re innovative and forward-thinking, making decisions with the well-being of their land and communities as their top priorities. Luckily, technology has helped them accomplish those goals while improving their yields and saving them time. How has technology made you more efficient? Share with us on Twitter!