Satellite controlled tractor changing lives of farmers
By Beth Cefalu
Thu, 04 Jul 2013 20:50:59 GMT — The Johnson Dairy Farm in Daggett is the largest in the Upper Peninsula, encompassing 4,000 acres in crops. Three years ago, the Johnsons purchased a tractor completely controlled through GPS satellite to help ease the exhausting labor it takes to till all those fields. â??Itâ??s based off a satellite on the tractor, off a satellite in the sky,â?? says Dave Johnson, owner and manager of Johnson Dairy Farm. â??Once we have our coordinates set, it does the work for us.â?? The farmer says at first he was apprehensive and didn't think it'd be that â??big of a deal.â?? â??It is a big deal,â?? Johnson admitted. â??We found, by the end of the day, we're not as tired. It takes a lot of stress off us.â?? It cost $8,000, and although employees still spend hours in the tractors tilling, the hands-free operation leaves them less fatigued, making the investment well worth it. â??We're not so focused on our straight forward lines on our fields anymore; the computer is actually doing it for us,â?? the farmer added. Over $300,000 annually was spent on fuel alone, but the GPS is so accurate the farm has cut those costs almost 15 percent. â??There's no overlap. The computer does precision tillage for us, allows us to save fuel because we're not doing overlap anymore,â?? Johnson explained.
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