Move over Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, and all the other companies and industries that people associate with leading edge technologies. If you are interested in leading edge, consider what is happening in the agricultural equipment space these days. Please feel free to share this article with family, friends, associates and any others who are entering the workforce or looking for an amazing experience and opportunity to work in a cutting edge field.
I’m sure you have heard of autonomous cars. Well that is certainly intriguing and will be here before we know it. Safety is obviously one of the biggest obstacles, and the bugs are being worked out. But have you heard about autonomous tractors? Yes, that is right. Tractors without a driver are in the field today – doing the tilling, planting, and harvesting activities all on their own. Now keep in mind these tractors are not just following defined roads that are well charted and mapped. Autonomous tractors must contend with varying geographic locations and terrains and are not just driving, but are simultaneously performing multiple functions, like applying fertilizer or chemicals at varying application rates.
Ok, that’s pretty fun, and it leads us to machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. Yes, the machines do already talk to one another. Some like to put this in the category of the “Internet of Things”. Let’s look at an example: A combine’s hopper is getting full and needs to unload. So it contacts the tractor to bring the grain cart. Not only does the tractor bring the cart, it pulls up next to the combine while it is still moving across the field, allowing the combine to unload into the cart while continuing to harvest. Time is money in this business; and stopping or pausing the harvest can cut into profit. Now magnify that cost savings many times over when considering a larger farm.
And no, NOT a Corporate Farm. In spite of all the rhetoric out there, ninety-four percent of U.S. farms are still family farms. They are incorporated for tax reasons. Not sure where this movement against big bad cor