This is the future

Of course robots will play a roll in field operations- in places like the USA and Australia it's a no brainer as the thing is sat in thousands of square km's of nothingness.
This is very true, It is different sitting in a picturesque corner of Hampshire watching the river, the church and the swans compared to being miles from anywhere on a featureless prairie. Watching the queue on the A31 makes your job seem better too :)
 

Kidds

Member
Horticulture
I just saw this pic on facebook and it sent a cold shiver down my spine. The seat on one of them is half the reason I ache and the zigzag gearchange why my wrist aches.
I spent most of my days on the end of a cabbage knife, a hoe or on my hands and knees. Cabless tractor? pfftt! I was 55 before I found out hairs grow on my knees.

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nick...

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
south norfolk
I’m 58 and love driving tractors and have done all my life pretty much since I coukd reach the pedals.i understand robotics are coming but I’ll enjoy it whilst I can.ive got some sprayed of fallow to pull up later and in the week and looking foreward to that after a day out on sitework with my digger tomorrow.boys and their toys I reckon and I’m sure I’m not alone.
Nick...
 
Tractor driving is largely a young persons occupation. As you get older your interests and commitments vary, but I also think that modern technology is partly to blame. So much if the skill has gone out of the job, particularly driving straight. When I see pictures posted by the likes of @slim shiny I’m full of admiration for the quality and efficiency of the kit, but have often wanted to ask him what he actually does and thinks about all day. After losing relationships to working all hours, I’ve first hand experience of the downside to tractor driving as a job, much as I used to love it.
Back on topic though, robotics have to have a bright future. We’ve just started growing a small acreage of organic veg. The idea of a small robotic weeder pottering up and down the rows a bit like a robo mower, either hoeing or zapping with electricity sounds great to me. It doesn’t all have to be about prairie farming.
Im sorry but i dont agree that all the skill has gone out of the job, its just a different type of skill. I did 14 years on a triple ridger before gps and yes it was satisfying being able to drive straight I wouldnt go back as the job as a whole has improved such as, being able to mark out headlands so virtually no overlaps, work heavy land before bad weather if its in the middle of the field or not, now able to to do all the short work first so the destoners work it off then i put the side headlands in then carry on with landwork which means no going back to fields to ridge headlands, when drilling you can see how the tramlines are going to work out with poles so you can shift them so the sprayer clips them with the breakback each side rather than spraying around them, being able to plough short work into long so you get no hog troughs etc etc the list is endless. Today for instance ive altered the angle of stewardship so the rest of the field works out as a square width of 504 metres or 14x36m sprayer widths. Its not until you use it for a while till you see the full potential rather than just straight rows.
 

milkloss

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
East Sussex
This technology looks great if you've got the right ground etc. Just one question, and I don't mean to sound critical, all these machines seem to have small hopper/spray tanks etc...... so who fills them up when they're 50 clicks away at 2 in the morning?
 

Muddyroads

Member
Location
Devon
Im sorry but i dont agree that all the skill has gone out of the job, its just a different type of skill. I did 14 years on a triple ridger before gps and yes it was satisfying being able to drive straight I wouldnt go back as the job as a whole has improved such as, being able to mark out headlands so virtually no overlaps, work heavy land before bad weather if its in the middle of the field or not, now able to to do all the short work first so the destoners work it off then i put the side headlands in then carry on with landwork which means no going back to fields to ridge headlands, when drilling you can see how the tramlines are going to work out with poles so you can shift them so the sprayer clips them with the breakback each side rather than spraying around them, being able to plough short work into long so you get no hog troughs etc etc the list is endless. Today for instance ive altered the angle of stewardship so the rest of the field works out as a square width of 504 metres or 14x36m sprayer widths. Its not until you use it for a while till you see the full potential rather than just straight rows.
I completely get that, and as I said before, really appreciate the accuracy and efficiency of the operations that the technology allows you to do. But once you’ve got the field laid out, do you not spend most of your time as a passenger while the tractor does its own thing?
 

Galcam

Member
I kinda agree with lowland1. I farm (if u can call it that) because I enjoy the outdoors, dealing with animals, machinery and been my own boss. I would not spend a minute at it if I did not enjoy it. Life’s to short to wish it away. There comes a time in your life where it’s about been content, happy, challenged to an extent and less to do with making money.
 
I completely get that, and as I said before, really appreciate the accuracy and efficiency of the operations that the technology allows you to do. But once you’ve got the field laid out, do you not spend most of your time as a passenger while the tractor does its own thing?
Depends on the job tbh, rolling/discing/subsoiling yes. When drilling i usually alter depth/cultivation discs or levelling board for heavier patches through the field. Ploughing usually needs a tweak here and there from light to heavy, sideland etc. Dont get me wrong you can just press go and I'm sure whats on the back will do some sort of job, unfortunately my OCD doesnt find that acceptable ?‍♂
 

Muddyroads

Member
Location
Devon
What you call OCD might be better described as professional attitude and attention to detail, things which are sadly lacking in many of today’s steering wheel attendants. The fact that you know what it’s like to operate kit without all the fancy gizmos probably means you appreciate them all the more and could operate pretty well if the satellites go down!
 

Kidds

Member
Horticulture
If you like tractor driving that's great and I am genuinely happy for you, the novelty wore off for me a long time back. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy having the skill to do it. I've planted many acres of veg and strawberries etc and am proud of the fact I can get perfectly straight lines etc. Quite happy to let a robot do it for me now though.
Where these have been developed it is usual that a single paddock (field) is much bigger than any farm in this country, I would say they are born of necessity as much as anything.
 
I have to agree, when I was in my twenties, I thought I was the mutt's nuts sitting on a tractor day and night. Now nearing 60, I avoid anything that takes more than about an hour at a stretch if I can possibly help it. I still enjoy a few weeks making the hay with my collection of oldies but that is partly nostalgia/hobby and it would probably pay to get it done by someone else.
You are not alone...

First big session of tractor driving each year, and I'm off to the Osteopath to unravel me!
 

kiwi pom

Member
Location
canterbury NZ
not only robot sprayers . . .
Robot planters
Robot mowers
Ultimately, robot harvesters
Yes of course and they will have their place but how do they stack up price wise over thousands of acres? Beating the weather will still be the biggest single factor in many countries, you need instant output when conditions are right. Everything has to get to the field, be set up and monitored Seed/spray added and crops taken away again etc. Easier in wide open spaces I agree but certainly not suitable everywhere.

In a recent episode of Millennial farmer Zach planted a 100 acre corn field without having to do anything to the tractor, auto headland turns etc. Boring yes but he was there to instantly trouble shoot if things went wrong and monitor performance.
He got the crop in the ground in perfect conditions for 4 or 5 hours labour.
New tech will have to be cheaper and at least as fast to compete.
 

kiwi pom

Member
Location
canterbury NZ
it would still need harvesting, but yes I agree that kind of tech is interesting and exciting as well IF it just doesn’t mean we end up working for the big Ag co’s that own the tech behind it

if it doesn’t make us better off what’s the point regardless of how clever it is !
These things are being developed to make money for the company investing so they'll be no different than companies developing GMO's. You'll pay for the tech and the ability to operate it and doubt wont be allowed to fix it.
Don't pay your monthly fee on time or agree to the price rise, well they'll just 'switch them off' just when you need them.
At least with a seed, once its in the ground you're pretty safe.
You already have low labour and machinery costs, do you think robots will reduce that further?
Once everyone is using it, prices for your produce will adjust to compensate for any COP advantage (if there is one) because as farmers you're competing against each other.
 

glasshouse

Member
Location
lothians
If you like tractor driving that's great and I am genuinely happy for you, the novelty wore off for me a long time back. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy having the skill to do it. I've planted many acres of veg and strawberries etc and am proud of the fact I can get perfectly straight lines etc. Quite happy to let a robot do it for me now though.
Where these have been developed it is usual that a single paddock (field) is much bigger than any farm in this country, I would say they are born of necessity as much as anything.
I wouldnt lke to drive up and down in a 1000 acre field all day
Our small paddocks require constant attention re hills, wet bits , power poles etc
 

Wigeon

Member
Arable Farmer
Interesting thread this, with a good range of opinion.

I tend to side with Roy, in so far as spending, for instance, all week at 7k on a 3m subsoiler is about as boring as it can get. Why some people get a hard on from driving grass around in a tin box I'll never know, but it takes all sorts, which is of course a good thing.

I take the view, generally, that if someone can do it better, cheaper, faster, or more timely than me, then I'll pay them to do it, assuming the numbers stack. If that person is a robot, then great.

I recall a phrase in the farming ladder along the lines of "the farm worker knows how; the farmer knows why". Bring on the bots I say.

Anyway, back to the sprayer...
 

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NFU Scotland looks to find the next climate friendly farming champion

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Written by William Kellett

NFU Scotland has started the search for Scotland’s climate friendly farming champion.

Hosted by NFU Scotland’s Next Generation group and supported by Royal Bank of Scotland, the competition is encouraging Scotland’s farmers and crofters to take to video to outline the steps they are taking to reduce emissions and deliver wider environmental benefits.

The panel of judges will now include Ben Macpherson MSP, newly appointed Minister for Rural Affairs and the Natural Environment; Claire Taylor, political affairs editor at the Scottish Farmer; and NFU Scotland’s Next Generation Chair Peter Moss.

Those entering NFU Scotland’s competition will have a chance to win a...
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