Precision in the Potato Fields

A new land purchase has allowed Green Thumb Farms to add more acreage to our crop land.  The previous owner farmed hay for his cattle herd, we are in the process of turning the green hay into the ground in preparation for corn planting.

This is done with a process called disking.  A tractor  tows an apparatus behind it that has several disks that will chop up the grass and turn it back down into the loose soil.  The disk will travel over the land several times to make the surface smooth enough to plant.  After disking if needed a light cultivation may help to fluff up the top soil.  The cultivator has several teeth that are towed behind a tractor to break up any remaining large chunks.  In these photos this tractor is towing the disk and you can see just how deep it reaches to help soften the top layer of soil in preparation for planting.

The John Deere tractor trundles across a dusty brown field at 3 mph, planting potato pieces every eight inches, in a perfectly straight line under a perfectly blue sky, we also recommend the used tyres for tractors for a much smoother ride !

At the end of the row, Jeff Merrill grabs the steering wheel, punches a red button on a computer touchscreen and turns the tractor, which continues down a line kept true by satellites 12,000 miles overhead. The global positioning system driving the tractor could keep it going in a straight line ”all around the world,” Merrill says.

”You think driving a tractor is just that,” says Merrill, who’s worked for Green Thumb Farms for five years. ”Now you just get in and make sure the computer is driving it where it should be. Takes a lot of work out of it, that’s for sure.”

The GPS system allows workers to plant the potatoes with sub-inch accuracy — as each row stretches across the field, it won’t vary left or right by more than an inch. Another computerized system puts the tuber pieces exactly eight inches apart, at exactly the same depth. The whole system is called ”precision agriculture” an it’s awesome, we highly suggest the farmer to visit a tractor dealership and get one of these.

Read the full article at the Portland Press Herald… Click here.

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