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Smart Technology Meets Agriculture and Farming Equipment

Back in the 1930s, Industrial Engineer Allen F. Morgenstern originated the concept of, “Work smarter, not harder.”

We’ve all heard that adage a time or two. Hard work has always been admired, and it’s sometimes needed to achieve goals and deadlines. But the world is continuously shifting towards using technology for a smarter approach.

The agricultural industry has embraced technological advancements throughout its history with the end goals being efficiency, quality, safety, profitability and sustainability. Amazing strides in farming technology have included:

  • The introduction of rotary combines in the 1970s
  • Artificial intelligence and machine learning in the 2020s
  • Vast increases in horsepower to drive larger implements
  • Yield tracking
  • Drones
  • Planter seed monitors
  • Herbicide improvements
  • Plant varieties/hybridization
  • And much more

Using Computers and Data to Improve Farming Equipment

Businesses in a wide range of markets are using data analytics to improve production these days. Computers are utilized to do more work and since they’re usually connected to the internet, companies have the opportunity to collect key data points, analyze them and use the information to improve results.

Agriculture and farming companies are no exception. RFA Engineering has experience in this field and provides the engineering resources needed to develop smart equipment. Here are a few examples of how farmers are using new technologies to their advantage.

Harnessing the Power of Satellites and Automation

Machines such as tractors and combines utilize automatic GPS-guided steering systems that are controlled by satellites to follow precise routes. This technology has been around for more than 20 years and helps lower the cost of labor and can reduce compaction in the planted zone.

These guidance systems enable the user to pre-map the routes so the machine can automatically follow the pathway. This is a big deal because: 

  • As machine sizes increase, it gets harder to make a pattern in the field with wide implements.
  • The operator’s attention can be directed towards monitoring other quality aspects of the tractor drives itself.
  • Decreased operator fatigue allows for much longer days, which helps with productivity and safety.

Additionally, autonomous tractors are a state-of-the-art technology on the horizon. These machines only require the initial transport to the field and set up before doing the work on their own. This enables farm managers to start the machine and leave to focus on other important tasks.

Data and App Software

The demand for higher crop yields has pushed OEMs towards precision agriculture by utilizing the power of data. Farmers can connect electronics that use the internet to their heavy-duty machinery. These electronics send information directly to apps that farmers can access via computers and mobile devices.

Think of it as a high-tech ecosystem for agri-business. Interconnected technology being implemented across all sectors of the business helps to optimize efficiency, profit, safety, quality and sustainability.

This is revolutionary because it gives people more visibility and control over their equipment, enabling them to improve productivity and save time. For example, the user can check any of their connected machines at any time to see their route progress, fuel consumption, potential errors and much more.

In addition, these apps and software can track all of the information and store it to provide reporting when needed. This can help farmers make logistical decisions and focus on what to prioritize during planning. Ultimately, having more connectivity allows for better automation in the future, which will improve productivity and reduce labor costs.

Helping Farmers and Agriculture Companies Keep Up With Smart Technology

Companies that build farming equipment must ensure that they have the skills and people needed to engineer with smart technology in mind. At RFA, our engineers know there’s no going backward, which is why we provide services and staff to help engineer smart equipment for the manufacturers of agricultural machinery.

If you need help with engineering solutions, our team is here to help. Send us a message to learn more.

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