Going high-tech on the farm!

Prior to farming both Carl and I spent our life writing software, assisting companies in automating and streamlining their processes or manually done tasks, thus saving them money and time which allowed them to grow and flourish. Doesn’t it seem crazy that we’ve never evaluated our business from an automation standpoint?
When the Palm Pilot first made its debut, I ditched my day timer that had been a part of my life for a good 20 years, in favor of the Palm. The Palm went with me everywhere and I had all my contacts on it, appointments, meeting notes, my dream places to visit, my dream list of things I would like to accomplish, an ongoing list of books to read, etc. I even used the Palm for record keeping (although in a pretty archaic format) the first couple years while we farmed until the Palm bit the dust. I couldn’t financially justify purchasing a smart phone because out here in rural America we didn’t have data coverage. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that we actually could get a cell signal yet our signal strength was never strong enough for data and still too expensive. Because we spend so much of our time here on the farm without a strong cell signal, Carl and I have never yet entered into the world of smartphones and texting. We figured why bother with such technology if we couldn’t use it for receiving calls, emailing or texting because we had no data coverage, not to mention the smartphone still had a screen too small for the record keeping we do on the farm. So I must admit we are technologically a little behind the times.
Perhaps us being technically behind the times will be changing with the introduction of the Nexus7. Carl has been trying to talk me into this computer after he read reviews about it, then while at the store he showed me it, and I was sold after seeing how big the screen resolution was. The tablet can run software for displaying and editing spreadsheets, so now we can realistically export our reports from our PC and have them on the tablet. I am fascinated by this little computer and now am interested in one day having a smart phone.
Our hope is that we go paperless this season and I think the Nexus7 will actually allow us to do this. It is complete with a development environment so we are hoping one day to have a thin version of our farming software on this computer.
Here is an article that makes for an interesting read, and just another reason to buy local in supporting a regionally diversified food system, helping to protect the US food system from being impacted by extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods.  Also interesting is this article about the science of junk food being addictive and I found it astounding that in 1979 James Behnke of Pillsbury organized a meeting, with companies producing unhealthy food, to discuss what can be done for the health of America. Yet nothing has been done since that meeting and today, twenty four years later, junk food continues to be subsidized by our government.
For the past 13 years we have been using this printed report, generated from the software we wrote, used as our farm journal for tracking those items seeded in the greenhouse. We are trying to get rid of our paper journals so this report is going to be used on the tablet.
For the past 13 years we have been using this printed report, generated from the software we wrote, used as our farm journal for tracking those items seeded in the greenhouse. We are trying to get rid of our paper journals so this report is going to be used on the tablet.
For the past 13 years, we've always used this printed report, generated from the software we wrote, for tracking those items transplanted or direct seeded to the field. As we go paperless on the farm this report will be used on the tablet.
For the past 13 years, we've always used this printed report, generated from the software we wrote, for tracking those items transplanted or direct seeded to the field. As we go paperless on the farm this report will be used on the tablet.
For the past 13 years, we've always used this printed report, generated from the software we wrote, for tracking our harvest. As we go paperless on the farm this report will be used on the tablet.
For the past 13 years, we've always used this printed report, generated from the software we wrote, for tracking our harvest. As we go paperless on the farm this report will be used on the tablet.
Paper generated for our record keeping after a season of farming.
Paper generated for our record keeping after a season of farming.
The tablet with our Seeding schedule.. It is taking me more time to organize seeds for seeding and complete tasks because I am learning this new tool.  Too bad I wasn't born 20 years later and this tool would already be a part of my life because I would have grown up with this technology.  When the Palm Pilot was first introduced, I ditched the day timer for the palm, and it was life changing. I have been slow to adopt new technology on the farm. I think the tablet is the first portable computer with a large enough screen to do what we do here on the farm.
The tablet with our Seeding schedule. It is taking me more time to organize seeds for seeding and complete tasks because I am learning this new tool. Too bad I wasn't born 20 years later and this tool would already be a part of my life because I would have grown up with this technology. When the Palm Pilot was first introduced, I ditched the day timer for the Palm, and it was life changing. I have been slow to adopt new technology on the farm. I think the tablet is the first portable computer with a large enough screen to do what we do here on the farm.
Making Transplant Soil Mix! It is that time of the year to begin seeding and growing seedlings for our 2013 season. We are using a concrete mixer this year to save time! We bought the mixer for the cabin but will use it for soil mix making when we have a lot to seed!
Making Transplant Soil Mix! It is that time of the year to begin seeding and growing seedlings for our 2013 season. We are using a concrete mixer this year to save time! We bought the mixer for the cabin but will use it for soil mix making when we have a lot to seed!
Filling flats. It feels good to have my hands in the soil once again!
Filling flats. It feels good to have my hands in the soil once again!
We like to fill a lot of flats before we begin seeding and this year we started seeding with about 150 flats filled. We do this so we can fill our greenhouse as quickly as possible, with seeded flats, because with the greenhouse full one is germinating seeds rather than wasting propane heating air.
We like to fill a lot of flats before we begin seeding and this year we started seeding with about 150 flats filled. We do this so we can fill our greenhouse as quickly as possible, with seeded flats, because with the greenhouse full one is germinating seeds rather than wasting propane heating air.
Notice that we are using plant tags for labeling flats! We have always been rather neurotic about information included on our flat label such as variety, date, supplier and lot number. The computer program we wrote would print flat labels according to our production schedule. That would require us to tape the label to the flat then remove the label once the flat has been transplanted. Now we are just using one plant tag for each flat with plans that the plant tag will also be used in the field. We have always worried about the plant tag falling out then not knowing what was seeded in the flat and yesterday morning I did notice one tag that was on the ground and I think our cats are to blame for the plant tag falling out.
Notice that we are using plant tags for labeling flats! We have always been rather neurotic about information included on our flat label such as variety, date, supplier and lot number. The computer program we wrote would print flat labels according to our production schedule. That would require us to tape the label to the flat then remove the label once the flat has been transplanted. Now we are just using one plant tag for each flat with plans that the plant tag will also be used in the field. We have always worried about the plant tag falling out then not knowing what was seeded in the flat and yesterday morning I did notice one tag that was on the ground and I think our cats are to blame for the plant tag falling out.
Harmon would rather be hiking than seeding. Half way through the day he went back to our house so he could sleep on the couch.
Harmon would rather be hiking than seeding. Half way through the day he went back to our house so he could sleep on the couch.
Spotfoot is not afraid of heights. I wish I had a bit of her personality in me.
Spotfoot is not afraid of heights. I wish I had a bit of her personality in me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *