Where are we going with Mechanized Farming?

I have been away for awhile as I was on holidays and then I got caught up in domestic chores.  I have been meaning to do some blogging for awhile now, but that task has been degraded to a lower priority.  I have been thinking about expanding my blogs to more than just grain drying, although I will continue with that as well.  I want to turn my attention to my old work of agricultural mechanization.  Here are some of things I am considering blogging.

  1.  I have been in agricultural innovation for most of my career, and I would like to put some ideas that could be used to “think outside the box”.  We get so used to doing things a certain way, that we don’t even consider new ways.  If I were teaching the growing of crops to students, I would give them a real project.  I would supply a bag of seeds, of which each student would select ten. At the end of say a hundred days, we would grade the students ability to grow the best plants by measuring the yield originating from those ten seeds.   Then looking at the ones with the best results — study exactly what was done in the growing process. Now it is just a matter of joining the dots in coming up with the machinery to do this on a much larger scale.
  2. Getting rid of herbicides:  If we grew plants in rows, or better yet grids in which the plants are equally spaced in the row, we could actually use the plants as guides or beacons and track and lock onto the position using simple video imaging.  Anything green that is not in this grid, would by default be considered a weed and be removed with the surgical guidance of a water knife.
  3. Small is more efficient.  I would go through all the reasons that small equipment, like maybe 8 feet wide, is much more efficient than the large wide equipment we have now.
  4. Direct injection spraying.  Why aren’t we going there??
  5. How mechanized do we want to get?  Are we building a house of cards.  Are we really helping the world by taking that very small farmer from subsistence.
  6. Do we really want the highest yield no matter what?  The cost?  The environment?