The general public still has the image of a man in overalls sitting on a three legged stool milking a cow by hand as their idea of a farmer. Nothing could be further from the truth. Agriculture is one of the most technologically advanced industries and many headlines today herald autonomous equipment.
Each of the major equipment manufacturers have an autonomous tractor on the horizon. Like, it-doesn’t-even-have-a-cab autonomous. You probably haven’t seen one of these in real life yet, although it is entirely likely that over the last several years you’ve seen tractors outfitted to run grain carts driverless.
Undoubtedly, you know irrigation systems now have sensors that respond to real-time field conditions. Maybe you or your crop consultant are scouting with drones now. The trend that encompasses all of these examples? Mobile apps. Everything can be done with or tracked from your phone, right at your fingertips!
On my family’s farm, we just installed two robotic milkers. We’re a month in, and it’s hands down one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Cows are healthier. Milk production and quality are up. A task that used to take several people is on its way to becoming a one man show.
Why the shift? Labor is a huge challenge no matter what kind of operation you have, and especially for seasonal work. Saving time and creating efficiency are key to success. And honestly, some of this technology really isn’t cost-prohibitive anymore. The grain cart I mentioned? That system is around $55,000. One robotic milker? About $150,000. I bet your payroll numbers versus the cost of equipment over its useful life would be intriguing to many.
A simple piece of innovation is the Farm Credit EXPRESS (FCE) equipment financing program, offered through MidAtlantic Farm Credit. FCE offers competitive rates and terms at many local dealerships, providing easy, on-the-spot financing for farm equipment, irrigation systems, equine, and ag commodity trailers. This program allows you to take advantage of cash discounts from the manufacturer for new or used equipment, with decisions within minutes.
Visit farmcreditexpress.com or ask a local dealer for information about Farm Credit EXPRESS rates the next time you need to finance a piece of equipment or technology for your farm.