By Tom Bechman and John Vogel
Aside of finally getting a Farm Bill through Congress, take a peek at major ag tech advances that'll be game changers. We're talking about robotic milking, next-level precision ag and new corn traits.
Robotic milking expands
Milking cows with robotic arms and computers has been steadily growing in the "dairy belts" – the Northeast and Upper Midwest. Costs are slowly coming down, cow-capacity is slowly rising and U.S. competition in the market is picking up pace.
This year, four major manufacturers – AMS-Galaxy, DeLaval, GEA and Lely – are marketing differing systems here. BouMatic officials expect to enter the U.S. market later this year. The company is already promoting what's sure to come.
Dairy producers are discovering substantial labor savings and family living values. And the technology isn't lost on next-geners who are attracted back to the farm because of it.
But key to making this tech success is product support of local dealerships. They have to have well-trained support techies (geeks) on staff and someone available 24/7.
American Agriculturist and Farm Credit East are sponsoring daily seminars on this technology at New York Farm Show on Feb. 20, 21 and 22 in Syracuse. Click here for more details.
John Deere opens data platform
2014 brings a giant step forward for the precision ag industry. The industry has been moving toward plug-and-play with different hardware and software options from different companies working with each other.