Uncle Art set me up in the smart cab of the smart tractor.
I remember — from a child’s distance — the tractors of the 1950s; the driver bounced along on a hard metal seat in the heat and dust; if he was lucky he had an umbrella to provide some shade in the major heat of midday (temperatures over 100 F not at all unusual). The mark of a farmer in those days was the deep dark red of the back of his neck, though that didn’t always indicate his worldview.
Now there’s an enclosed cab with air conditioning, a seat with a deep compression cushioning system — and a Global Positioning System which (once set on the computer for the field under work) keeps the tractor exactly on its row, just lapping the rows on either side.
It’s not really automatic — the driver has to watch for the right moment to start the turn at the end of the row, and think through an efficient order for the rows (though it is easy to skip one or several and come back later to get them precisely). There are power poles at the turning area, and a large working trailer (discs or plow or seeder) behind, so you’d better know your entire turning radius.
Still not an easy job, but so much more humane now!
Tagged: , JohnDeeretractor , GPSnavigationalsystem