Farm labor challenge? Day 5/30, Ag Tech Talk Blog

05 Nov Farm labor challenge? Day 5/30, Ag Tech Talk Blog

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Cab from 2013 John Deere 8R Tractor, screens are: Command Center (on arm rest), JD 2630 (used for applications, planting, spraying, etc) and iPad.

One of the major obstacles facing our farmers today is the necessary skilled labor to operate these high tech machines.  Farming operations are doing more and more with technology as we all know.  With the average of the farmer now in the mid 50’s this is a growing problem in the Ag Industry.    Fact is all our machinery is getting much “smarter” and requires an operator with more skills than ever before.

So what are our options?  Max Armstrong and I were discussing this issue recently. We wondered why local colleges haven’t considered a program to help with this problem?   Machinery manufactures have been offering some classes to teach new operators but many don’t take advantage of this.

The current trend in agriculture is for MORE technology.  This is for several reasons but mainly it’s due the rising need to produce more, from each acre of farm land.   One technology getting more wide spread use is variable rate technology.  With the assistance of a GPS, the grower can vary the rates of application of fertilizer, pesticides and seed as one travels across a field.  This is done to maximize yield and prevent any waste.   But again, using this technology is requires a VERY skilled operator.

Equipment manufactures have been working hard to simplify operating these machines.  But they still have a long way to go in my opinion.   New technology in these new machines has made them more efficient (saving fuel) then ever but with that the machines are more technical to use.

There’s no question that machinery will continue to advance even more.  But it will take a more skilled operator to run them correctly.  As the input costs per acre are raising to all time highs you can’t afford to make any mistakes, they are just too costly.

I can tell you this, here at Cross Implement we see a VERY high demand for used machinery and it’s easy to see understand why.   Many growers just prefer the older iron, I think we know why.

Interior from 1982 John Deere 4640

Interior from 1982 John Deere 4640

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2 Comments
  • Brian
    Posted at 13:31h, 07 November

    I’m the guy who leans toward that 8R cab! In fact mine will look just like that one by spring. Although I embrace new tech I agree that much of this is learning on your own. I would like to occasionally attend a class to learn about things I may be overlooking that could improve our operation.

    • agtechtalk
      Posted at 15:06h, 07 November

      Yes I agree with you, nice part is once you are used to 8R cab, that carries over to 7R, 9R, & combines. Manufactures are learned that can’t make it too difficult. Other brands (none JD) are much more complicated to operate in my opinion, we get many customers tell us that. Trick is to make sure you are getting all the value from this technology.