1. How have advancements in equipment technology made growers more efficient?
Anderson: There are quite a few that have had a considerable impact. The most notable for tractors would be the CVT Transmission. This is the most advanced technology to get as much of the tractor’s power to the ground. A newer technology that is becoming a greater part of the industry is telematics, or wireless-data transfer. The ability to remotely know where the equipment is located, what it is doing, and better manage the use, logistics, maintenance, and fleet support, such as fuel trucks, supply vehicles, or harvest offloading vehicles, enables the farm manager/owner to operate the fleet most efficiently. This can save in time, labor, and fuel.
2. What tips would you give a grower in matching up new equipment purchases for the intended job?
Anderson: First, consider what is the operation’s most limiting factor. What is going to make the most impact? If it is efficiency in the field, then auto-steering technology would be a great first step. If management of a fleet of vehicles and the personnel is an operational concern, telemetry would be something to consider. I don’t believe there is one right answer for every operation.
3. What are some specific points that should be considered in purchasing new equipment?
Anderson: Integration of the technology into the equipment. If the technology isn’t factory installed on the equipment, how will the field installed technology integrate and work with the equipment?
Integration of the technology with other technology on the operation: As with equipment, there are a number of reasons why an operation would purchase different brands of technology. Mostly, it is because the operation has a specific task that needs to be performed for which niche products are the best fit. It is the same for technology products. If the operation looks at different brands of technology, then how will the different technologies work together?
Desire and capacity of the operation to use the technology: If a technology would be great to have, but there is no one that can or wants to use or manage it on the operation, then it is a waste of money.
Willingness of the operation to change how they do business: Technology can show a lot of ways that an operation can become more efficient or profitable. But if the management is not willing to make the needed changes that the data illustrates, then the information is moot.