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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Playing with the Computer John Deere Style!

 Isn't this a pretty picture?    Do you know what it is a picture of?

Nope, it's not one of Tink's or Bear's latest, greatest art projects; although, Miss Mindy is GREAT at turning simple geometric shapes into a variety of animals and objects!

Nope, this is not random, bored doodling on the computer.   Give?

Thanks to our John Deere Apex mapping system, this is a map of one of our farms, actually MY family farm, planted in corn last Wednesday!  The total area planted is around 160 acres.  The top is north, and the left is west. Each color represents a different kind of seed.  Miss Amanda, your seeds are in yellow and pink!  The legend below tells by color each variety of seed planted on the farm.  The white space going east-west is a road, and the white space going north-south on the angle is a house and creek, or crick as I call it.

The dark stripes represent refuge corn.  What is refuge corn?  It is corn that is non-resistant to bugs.  We plant it with the treated corn so that bugs do not become resistant to pesticides.  We do not want to promote the creation of a super bug, sort of like not wanting a super virus. 

Here is the actual elevation of this farm:

As you can probably guess, the glaciers went right over our farm, so it is rather flat with a bit of a roll on the east side.

If you have been reading my last few posts, you know there is a thought going 'round the farm that even I could run the planter because we have set up GPS lines so the tractor is on auto steer until you have to turn around.  All this is done with that little green and yellow dome on the top of the tractor.

 It bounces information from satellites to figure out all the longitude and latitude details.  Here is a screen shot of what satellites we can use from space to help with the mapping:


Here is another very cool bit of information.  The Glonass satellites are RUSSIAN!  We can use whatever group of satellites available to give us the best signal for measuring.  It's nice to share right? 

I know a lot of you have been commenting that farming sure isn't what it used to be, and you are right.  20-30 years ago a farmer and his family could live off of 500 acres of ground.  Now not only is that impossible, but we have less ground to use to produce more food for more people.  We have to become more efficient in how we plant, and still maintain the ground so it can continue to produce for generations to come.  Technology like the Apex system is helping farmers be precise in how we use our ground.

Here in northwest Indiana, we have been planting like crazy.  The weekend rains put a lot of us out of the tractor, but that isn't all bad.  My Tall Guy would be doing his version of a mad Leprechaun dance if he read that last statement because he so wanted to get that last field of corn planted, BUT as his wife, I know he needed to rest a bit after going out at 8 in the morning and not coming in until 10-11 at night!  Do that for five days in a row, and anyone would need a rest.  Hopefully, we will be back at in tomorrow morning with some clear skies.  Sun is a necessity right now!

Have a great start to your week!


  1. Honestly???? That is sooooooo cool... I am not a farmer and never will be, but dang......I like that technology....

  2. This is pretty cool. We have an old plow on our farm and my son, and I, were just talking this weekend how hard farming used to be. Not that it isn't still a lot of work! But I cannot imagine not having technology and machines to use for help.

  3. Love that you got screen shots of your GPS monitor. Great information that explains what all farmers have to think about in order to get their crops planted.

  4. That is fascinating!! My brain hurts from trying to understand it all - but it is undoubtedly awesome.

  5. Amazing how much technology has improved farming! Very cool, thanks for sharing.

  6. Our farm friends have been eager to plant. They like to get their crops in early but rain, rain, rain has been the order of the day! They do over a thousand acres in corn and soybeans. I've offered to drive the big combine but so far, they haven't taken me up on the offer!!

    I drove down to our favorite farm for vegetables on Saturday and passed one huge field that looked like a lake (with waves). Terrible!

    Hope you have a good growing season!


  7. Love it! That's what my hubby does for his job...GPS farm consulting. :)



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