We have come a long way since having horses as our main source of power to haul objects. The invention of the internal combustion engine during the Industrial Revolution really set not only the agricultural industry, but the world, in motion-literally. This has allowed us to invent something as simple as the tractor, that can perform numerous jobs with different attachments, as well as something as complicated as the combine, which is built to complete one overall job but does multiple tasks simultaneously.
Due to the drastic rise in population, the need for food is constantly increasing. Agriculture has to be one of the most advanced industries in the world to be able to keep up with the demand. One way the industry has been able to keep up with the demand is through genetics. Every year we are creating new hybrids that keep producing higher and higher yields.
The biggest advancement of my lifetime is the evolution of farm data. This includes yield mapping, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), monitoring systems etc. In the early 1990’s, products were being introduced that could monitor real time factors like what the crop was yielding, moisture content and much more. It accomplished this just by putting sensors on the auger, which had never been done before.
Then in the early 2000’s, farmers were able to transfer all of their data to their home computers to have on file for future reference. This was a huge advancement, because in years to come, it made decision making for farmers a lot easier. Farmers could be at home and easily pull up the software to see what a certain crop yielded at a certain location. In the mid to late 2000’s, using drones and various crop sensors to map fields become a very popular scouting option. This was much more efficient, and usually cheaper, than paying someone to spend all day in one field.
Around 2014, along with the rest of the world, agriculture went totally wireless. No USB’s and no plugging into computers. Newer software has done a very nice job using a “cloud” system where you simply have to log into your account on different devices, whether your phone, tablet, or monitoring system, to access all of your data. This is somewhat of a culture shock, especially to older farmers, but the developers make it simple enough for anyone to quickly learn.
My name is Kevin Blindt, and I am a junior here at Western Illinois University. I am a member of the Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and ag business club. I am on track to graduate in May of 2019 with a degree in agriculture business and a minor in precision agriculture. I am from a small rural town called Vermont, IL, which is about 25 minutes southeast of Macomb. Thanks for reading! (Picture is from gamya.com)