Farmers Go High Tech - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Farmers Go High Tech

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MOULTRIE, GA (WALB) -

By Jay Polk - bio | email

MOULTRIE, GA (WALB) – GPS devices are common on roads these days.  They're also becoming more common on farms.

The same technology that helps you find the nearest pizza place can also help peanut farmers.

Farming is one of civilizations oldest occupations.  And it's work that has been passed down through the generations.

Robert Dasher, a farmer from Glenville said, "my father started around 1940."

The old way was simple, but difficult.

"Everything was manual.  We had to turn planters on ourselves, off ourselves," said Tim East of Trimble Navigation.

But like everything else, the technology used to grow crops has changed dramatically.  Take the humble tractor.  While it looks like an ordinary tractor if you look closer you can see an antenna, which is NOT for the radio.

It's for something else.  East said that it's: "satellite GPS technology."

With the new technology, farmers can not only know where they're going, they can know what they've done on each piece of their land.

"It can keep track of where you've been.  We can log that data and it can tell you where you put down the nutrients, so you don't double apply," said East.

And technology is taking over the harvest as well, like the cotton picker.

Brian Orwig of John Deere said, "now we've got an on-board module building picker."

That means that those giant containers of cotton that you see in the fields can be made on the go, saving the farmer time during the harvest.  All of the modern advances on the farm can lead to better yields, but it can also lead to something else.

While making the farmer more efficient is a big part of the technology on display here at the exposition, it's also about helping to preserve the land for future generations.

With water likely to become more expensive as it becomes an increasingly precious resource, using less of it helps to save money.  And there's a way to do that too.  By using: "low pressure nozzles, where you're basically looking at something close to a mist," said Dr. Mark Latimore of Fort Valley State University.

The idea is to keep runoff to a minimum.

Dr. Latimore said, "you're basically allowing the water enough time to soak into the soil profile."

If the farm of today is more technological than before, the future will continue to bring improvements in the way crops are raised and sent to market.

Brian Orwig of John Deere said, "there's always new things that can happen."

And with the potent combination of computers and conservation, the future of South Georgia farms looks bright.

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