I have had the pleasure of being a part of Successful Farming’s Tools of the Future event this past week.
The event featured the newest ag tools that can make farming more profitable. The technology ranged from automated soil sampling to drones. The first day’s program was in Des Moines, IA. From there the show traveled to Bloomington, IL and West Lafayette, IN. Each event included demonstrations and hands-on exhibitions. Below are my top tech picks from the tour.
A new wearable computer that, once in the hands of farmers, will likely help with many of the jobs currently done using a desktop, laptop or smartphone. All this in one device that is the size of a pair of sunglasses. There’s a small battery, a processor with 16 GB of storage and a small monitor on which the information is displayed. It’s the equivalent of looking at a 25-inch monitor from 8 feet away. The monitor is in a pair of glasses and appears just above your field of normal vision. Crop scouting, documenting machinery maintenance, and frictionless hands-free communication were just 3 of the ideas forward-looking farmers discussed.
Beck’s Hybrids demonstrated the newest technologies for planning including multi-hybrid corn planting. This consists of changing corn hybrids on the fly based on yield potential, soil type, or management zones throughout a farm.
North Carolina farmer Allan Baucom displayed his automated soil sampler. This soil sampler is a revolutionary, patented system for collecting soil samples on-the-go with cataloging capability. A ground driven drum and probe assembly, self-indexing sample collector, and storage compartment allow more samples to be collected in a day, with less operator error and fatigue.
Drones are evolving quickly as a high-function farm tool. Aaron Sheller of Precision Drone demonstrated how to put unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to work for in-season crop scouting. Precision Drone is an Indiana company that manufactures helicopter-style drones (hexacopters) for use by farmers in assessing the health of their crops.
It was an honor to be a part of Successful Farming’s efforts to educate farmers and agricultural retailers on the newest technologies in agriculture. The event was open to anyone who wanted to explore the latest, state-of-the-art agricultural tools that can make farmers more profitable in the field. The tour showcased the industry’s leading innovators who can assist farmers in running their operations more efficiently, boosting yields, and producing better results; all with fewer inputs and oversight.
What amazed me was that 3 of the 15 tools showcased by Successful Farming were conservation technologies. They were not technologies that had peripheral conservation benefits, but technologies that were all about conservation. The 3 conservation companies included Agri Drain Corporation, Ecosystem Services Exchange, and Agren. I believe this is a reflection of agriculture’s interest in improving the environmental conditions of farming and I appreciate Successful Farming’s inclusion of conservation technologies in their Tools of the Future event.