Annual Farm Show Tour Indicates Agriculture Is Alive and Well

September 26, 2016

Having just completed the annual Paulsen Farm Show Tour including stops at Farm Progress, Big Iron and Husker Harvest, there are a number of observations I’d like to share.

First, even though the current ag economy is in the tank, there still is a great deal of interest in what’s new in agriculture based on the attendance at the three shows we visited. And, the current ag economy has not deterred agribusinesses from developing and introducing new products and new ideas to improve productivity.

In fact, one of the major takeaways from the recent ag expositions is the explosion in new technology in farming. I was amazed at the number of exhibitors introducing new and improved technology. Collecting data, storing data, interpreting data and applying data to everyday farming decisions was a common theme this year.

An impressive example of new technology is the autonomous, cabless, row-crop tractor introduced by Case IH. This tractor was built for a fully interactive interface to allow for remote monitoring of pre-programmed operations. It can be operated remotely via a desktop computer or portable tablet interface. A farmer can supervise the activities of multiple machines while tending to other tasks or even operating another vehicle.

With the labor shortage in agriculture becoming more and more serious, the autonomous tractor is an excellent example of technology providing a viable solution.

Another observation is the sheer increase in the size of today’s equipment. At the Big Iron Show (aptly named), I noticed that the size of tractors, combines, planters, tillage and application equipment has grown immensely—not to mention the corresponding price tags.

The acreage needed to justify and accommodate this equipment is equally huge. Reps who I visited with indicated that more than 2,000 acres is typically where much of this equipment begins to deliver cost and production efficiencies.

Here’s a final observation. Traveling from Sioux Falls, S.D., to Boone, Iowa, to Fargo, N.D., to Grand Island, Neb., provides ample opportunity to observe miles and miles of corn, soybeans and alfalfa.

The reports appear to be true. This indeed will be a record crop in much of the western Corn Belt. It’s a good example of what all that new science, technology and ingenuity are capable of producing.


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