Six Next Big Farm Tech Things

Nor' east Thinkin'

Agriculture's crystal ball clearly shows a number of exciting farm technologies that will keep many Northeast farmers in the game.

Published on: April 2, 2013
 Last week's blog highlighted some of the coming farm changes that I shared recently with a farmers club. This is the exciting sequel, and the reason I'd love to be farming over the next 10 years.

Soon, 300-bushel corn numbers are likely to pop up on your combine yield monitors. And, you're going to discover new ways to make those numbers pop up more and more frequently.

Here are five farm technologies that'll make that once mythical high-yield mark a whole lot easier. We've covered them all in the magazine since January:

  • Crop sensors for variable-rate nitrogen is in the early adoption stage. With potential returns of $63 an acre, it's a win-win for crop budgets and the environment. Catch the details on it in January's cover story. If you've given your copy to someone else, click here.
  • Increased use of composted manure having natural fungicidal properties. Aside of adding stabilized organic matter to the soil profile, this is one of the extra economic benefits that are driving more and more dairy and beef producers into composting
  • Gypsum (CaSO4) as a soil amendment and synthetic gypsum made by fluidized gas desulfurization has huge soil and environmental value. USDA work shows it substantially improves soil structure, reducing water/nutrient runoff. It can increase corn yields by five bushels (8%) and alfalfa by up to 18%. One-year payback. If you missed the short story on it in April's issue, click here .
  • Early application of fungicides promise to boost corn yields even in a drought-stressed year. Applied V4 to V8 stage, Quilt Xcel can boost corn yields by 30 bushels and beans by 11 bushels. 2012 work suggests earlier app is better than later.
  • Drought-tolerant hybrids should already be in your seed corn lineup – unless your corn never comes up hot and dry.

Even cow milking is changing

Dairying, too, is in a technological shift to robotics. This size-neutral game changer cuts labor requirements by up to 50% –  and the aggravation of trying to find and train milkers by at least 75%. That's a huge thing today.

Now, a fourth dairy equipment company, GEA Farm Technologies, is in the U.S. robotic milking game. Catch the details in May's American Agriculturist, coming to your mailbox in a couple weeks.

Teamed with intensive grazing and maybe organic milk, dairy robotics will keep a lot of small dairies in the money – and lure the next generation back to the farm.

That's what I've learned from some very smart, forward-thinking farmers in the Northeast. One of them is featured on page three of February's American Agriculturist. Click here.

But you have to stay "on the move" technology-wise if you're going to stay in the farm game. I hope you'll never have to hear the words: "I told you so."

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    Modern agronomy, plant breeding, agrochemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers, and technological improvements have sharply increased yields from cultivation, but at the same time have caused widespread ecological damage and negative human health effects. Selective breeding and modern practices in animal husbandry have similarly increased the output of meat, but have raised concerns about animal welfare and the health effects of the antibiotics, growth hormones.

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    Agriculture, also called farming or husbandry, is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi, and other life forms for food, fiber, medicinals and other products used to sustain and enhance human life. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization.

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