Thursday, January 24, 2013

High-Tech Farming...That's Us!

So you probably know that Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers is building a new office...building.  Within the new building will be an Ag Tech Centre which will demonstrate the history of crops and fertilizer all the way to the point of modern agriculture and all of the technology of from GMO to GPS.  Anyway, part of the exhibits in the centre will be some simulators of tractors and combines with all of the precision applications.  And by simulators, this isn't just watching a cartoon but something you can get in and feel like you're planting or harvesting.  One of the objectives of all this is to convey the science of food production to the non-agricultural public.  So yesterday Tim and Stephanie hosted some visitors from a company that is one of the developers of the centre.  The company is Zentx Media Group, a Michigan company.  (You can tell they are a media leader by them having both a Z and an X in their name.)    Here is Tim showing how the planter uses uses pumps, gps speed inputs and flow controls to apply the correct rate of Liquid fertilizer from a rate set on the control monitor in the cab.  (At least I would guess that is what he is explaining.  I wasn't there.  Stephanie sent me these pictures.)  Jim from the AgroLiquid office is there too because he is involved in the planning and development of the Ag Tech Centre. 
Here Tim is showing the control valves involved in pulling different rates of fertilizers from individual tanks on the Hagie plot sprayer and then applying them as a complete blend.  Now who could have imagined such a thing just a hundred years ago?                                                                                                              
One of the neatest things is using auto-steer in the tractor.  We were probably the only ones in the county pulling a planter outside on a very cold day in January.  (Those white spots are snow.) But Tim is probably showing how to set the GreenStar controls for the desired rate of fertilizer in the designated field, and then how to put the tractor on a planter track and go.  Then like all farmers, pull out a newspaper and read the sports page (or this wildly popular blog) till you get to the other end of the field.  They will probably leave that part out of the simulators though.
So with their heads full of high-techness from the NCRS, the Zentx guys went back to Freeland and got to work.  Hopefully all of you out there can make it to St. Johns someday when the new building is complete and take a tour of the Ag Tech Centre.  And then remember the leading role that the NCRS played in its development.   (What's that?  Oh, sorry....I mean Center.  This is St. Johns after all!)