Wednesday, July 30, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Technology on the farm

By
From page A4 | June 02, 2014 |

“How ya gonna keep ‘em down on the farm
After they’ve seen Paree.”

Technology is the answer. The old song references milking cows, but in the Midwest corn belt, technology is increasing crop yields and cutting planting times in half. The latter is a big bonus for a year when the East and Midwest were hit by the Polar Vortex. That meant spring came late and there was a limited window for planting.

Here is what technology has done for the American farmer: With a $400,000 tractor run by GPS and computer software for planting, a farmer can start planting at night because the tractor drives itself. Realistically, a farmer can catch some zzz’s at night and read the Wall Street Journal in the morning after checking corn futures on his smart phone, all the time while the tractor is driving itself.

The computer program monitors seed rates, dispensing it at precise intervals, 24 rows at a time, changing the intervals to conform to soil type, quality and moisture. The GPS not only self-steers the tractor, but insures every strip of land is seeded. The information on seeding is then sent up to the cloud for later downloading.

Last year growers seeded 43 percent or 41 million acres in one week, a record.

When the bypass is flooded, motorists on Interstate 80 can see crop duster airplanes planting rice in the spring. The next advance will be GPS-programmed drones planting rice. Technology is driving greater crop yields in this country and easing the work of America’s farmers, but it is also driving down prices as yields rise.

Comparing rice farming in America with fields prepared by GPS-driven equipment and seeded by aerial planting that holds the potential for further GPS-driven efficiency to what takes place in Japan is like day and night. Japanese rice farmers hand-plant a few acres. Some may use a small tractor to plant rice shoots. It often looks more like a hobby than a profession.

The problem with Japan is that the government protects farmers, by adding import duties and a lot of other hurdles — such as recycling taxes for packing containers — for importers of fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s the reason fruit is so expensive there. Little fresh fruit gets there from South America and North America.

Ecuador, Chile and Mexico keep California supplied with fresh fruit all year long. When the California and Oregon fruit crops are harvested and marketed, then fruit comes in from South America’s west coast. California gets healthier, fresher food. Less of that makes its way back East.

With Agricultural commissioners and UC farm advisers in each county, California produces an incredible variety of food. In 2011, the value of crops sold in this state was $43.5 billion, according to USDA’s 2012 report. There were 81,500 farms. That year recorded a 15 percent increase over 2010. Iowa came in a distant second to California with a crop value of $29.9 billion.

Comments

comments

Mountain Democrat

.

News

 
District 2 candidate statements tell of goals

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1

Sand Fire nears containment: 66 structures destroyed

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Schedule for Highway 50 blasting closures

By News Release | From Page: A3

Tails wagging over dog park approval

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A3

 
Quarter-acre fire in Kelsey

By Rebecca Murphy | From Page: A3

.

Opinion

My Turn: Privatization of public services

By Mark Belden | From Page: A4

 
Policy book

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Piano replaced

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Comments sign-in policy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Save the Guinea Worm

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Large bangs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

Private property gets no respect

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
District 2 supervisorial special election

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 4 Comments

GDPUD management report

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
.

Sports

Ex-Bruin lends a helping hand

By Steven Shaff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Sierra Sharks finish middle of the pack

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

Roundup: July 29, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A8

 
Taz pull through for SSL trophy

By Patty Pope | From Page: A8

.

Prospecting

Nuns discover a pleasant place

By Lexi Boeger | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Bargains can be found everywhere

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

At a glance: Game time

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2

 
Barbecue dinner to benefit Blue Star Moms

By Mount Aukum Winery | From Page: B2

Stagecoach story takes riders on a trip

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B3

 
Help needed to make cool ties

By Sew 4 | From Page: B3

Stroke and osteoporosis screenings planned

By Life Line Screening | From Page: B3

 
Gold Rush Days activities cancelled this year

By Sacramento Convention And Visitors Center | From Page: B4

Master Food Preservers: Tomato time

By Monique Wilber | From Page: B4

 
Sacramento area museums offer summer fun

By Sacramento Association Of Museums | From Page: B5

 
Build an author platform at the Library

By El Dorado | From Page: B5

.

Essentials

Weather stats 7-29-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Building permits 6/2-6/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

Crime Log: July 17

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Merlyn Wilbur Adams

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2

.

Real Estate

.

Comics

.

Women’s Health

Love the skin you’re in

By Noel Stack | From Page: WH4

Dump stress and improve your health, productivity

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: WH7Comments are off for this post

Women’s Health Expo

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH8

Find the confidence you need to fight back

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH12

Our choices directly affect our health

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: WH14

They’re NOT your mother’s hearing devices!

By Marshall Medical | From Page: WH17