Higher Yields: The Science and Technology of Agriculture

Where do we go from here?

No, I’m not singing a line from the musical Evita. No one would argue there have been drastic changes in the farming industry. When I stop to think about it, I am two generations removed from farming with horses. We’re talking my grandpa farming with horses when he was a boy. Now, some farmers are using machines with GPS receivers, controls that look like joysticks and touchscreen monitors in the cabs.

Winter SunriseI am fortunate to have experienced both types of farming. No, I have not planted or harvested a field with horses, but I have experienced spreading manure with horses. Yes, it was strength building, callus producing work, and I wouldn’t trade a minute for those memories. There are several learning experiences in pitching manure. The two that stand out in my memory are that you only carry so much on your shovel or fork so you don’t slop or drop it as you’re throwing it in to the manure spreader and two, pay attention to which way the wind is blowing as you go to unload the spreader. It can get real messy real fast. It is that minute I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for, which I believe has led to the many advancements we enjoy today. How often have you heard “time is money”, or “time is precious” or thought my time is too limited to add one more thing? It is our desire to be efficient with our time and tasks, technology has helped us advance to where we are today. The world of agriculture is no exception.

Hazy MorningBeing curious, I googled how many farming apps are there. The results, over 700. The topics ranged greatly from the obvious livestock and crop apps, but there were marketing, education, technology and spraying apps. The most interesting app I discovered will assist in identifying any insect, weed, or disease found in the field. It allows for the specific location to be mapped so that the correct treatment can be applied to the specific area instead of the entire field if unnecessary. This tool wasn’t available 10 years ago. Science and technology have changed many things in the world of agriculture. From tractors to hybrid seeds and from power and energy to genetics science and technology has made big advances. These advances have also helped increase yields to feed a growing world population. It will be interesting to see what agriculture looks like for my grandchildren.

nobackgroundlogoThe 115 Partner Sites of the Silos & Smokestacks National Heritage Area tell a very specific story related to agriculture. Some of those stories are about where we have been and others where we are going in the world of agriculture, all of them excellent in expanding our knowledge. So I guess that is where we go from here. Continue to learn about or seek out opportunities to learn about agriculture. It is one thing that links us all together.

-Laura, Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area

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