The history of my farm goes back generations, and we’ve always had the same goal: To make an honest and sustainable living while caring for the environment to ensure a great future for generations to come. The way we have achieved that goal has changed in the last few decades. Modern technology gives me an edge that my father and grandfather didn’t have when growing crops. Farmers use different types of technology, and each person uses what’s right for them. On my farm, this is what works and helps me grow sustainable food.
Just like when you’re in your car, GPS links to our tractors and combine to guide us through the field with more precision than before and helps us track information with each pass. After a field is completely harvested this fall, I will download the data from the combine and upload it into my laptop so I can analyze the information and come up with a plan for cover crops, fertilizer and planting next spring.
Aside from the cool factor, drones collect data that allow us to better care for the plants and the land where they grow. The technology allows us to scout – or monitor – our fields in a matter of minutes instead of hours. Click here to read more about how drones improve sustainability on my farm.
All that information I collect goes directly to the cloud. I can pull up the information whenever I need it on my iPad or smart phone. In the spring, I’ll use the collected data and an app on my iPad to control the planter and apply fertilizer and pesticides only where we need them.
New farm technology is exciting, but it’s about more than convenience and gadgets. By using this technology, we will continue to be able to feed more people with less environmental impact, which is absolutely vital to the future of our planet.
Matt lives and farms in Dwight, IL with his wife and their three children.