When John Deere tested a 60 row, 105 acre per hour corn planter in southern Minnesota three years ago, I hought what’s next—a 100 row corn planter? Wow, how large will machinery continue to get? After reading a number of science magazines and giving it some careful thought, I think I have my answer. I believe we’ve hit our peak. That’s right. I think, through the use of technology, machinery companies will stop producing even larger equipment and begin sizing it down.
Look at what the military has done with Drones. They’ve gone from using huge planes—like the B52 bomber—to relying on ultra-small, unmanned aircrafts that are faster and more stealth-like. The direction the military is generally taking is smaller, faster and more efficient equipment, rather than larger. I imagine the same thing happening in farming, and really soon. The technology is
already in place. Even now, companies such as Kinze and John Deere are demonstrating operator-less tractors and combines that unload according to computer instructions. That means the next logical step is to place more, but smaller, units in a single field which automatically sequence their duties with each other. This will certainly produce dramatic results that will conquer one of the greatest hidden, and hardest to control, yield reducers—lessening compaction will finally be under our control. Precision planting and perfect seed and fertilizer placement will be taken to a whole new level. In fact, growers have begun moving from the large planters with one center-fill unit, to smaller individual-row boxes, so they can apply insecticides simultaneously. And finally, finding the right manpower to help run the operation will be much less of a concern.
I believe the combination of GPS, robotics, computers and wireless communication is going to— once again—change how farmers farm. This all means many of the major challenges, which historically have come with farming more land, will be largely reduced. Technology will replace the need for more time and more manpower. In addition, all of those new advances will be important tools that fit perfectly into our 300-bushel corn and 150-bushel soybean Maximum Profit System™. Stay tuned. There is a lot more excitement ahead.