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Written by Harlan Asmus

What do these things have in common?

  1. Spraying a pesticide on your crop.
  2. Determining the current cash price of grain.
  3. Unloading grain on-the-go from the combine.

All of these things are done much more efficiently today versus in the past.

We have 120’ wide sprayers, or wider, traveling almost 20 mph applying pesticides. We can get grain bids twenty-four hours per day from anywhere as long as you have “connection”. Larger and larger combines are harvesting our crop spitting out grain on-the-go into larger and larger grain carts. “Where will it end” is a question every generation asks themselves.

I am just over fifty years old and in my career I have sprayed with an IH 400 tractor at 4.5 mph, no cab, a Welsh 500 gallon sprayer and a 40’ boom that was so heavy it had to ride on wheels. I have a friend that used to read the grain market prices on the radio every half hour in 1981 to earn a little extra college spending money. I have driven an IH 806 gas-engine tractor pulling two Parker 300 bushel wagons tied in-tandem catching grain on-the-go from our IH 815 gas-engine combine. All of these are laughable ways to accomplish tasks by today’s standards.

At the time, we thought we were as efficient as possible. We felt good about our accomplishments; we were the world’s most efficient farmers.  Asmus Farm Supply recently hosted a growers happy hour in Frost, MN to talk about farm succession with the next generation. The crowd was mostly young farmers who have embraced technology and are definitely farming with twenty-first century methods. There aren’t autonomous tractors at our farms yet, but once again, this generation of farmer is managing their business the most efficient way known. Maybe autonomy is the next step to efficiency for the current and future generation.

However, let’s not get complacent. This is no time to feel we can’t get better. Keep on doing what you do best – Improving our efficiencies to meet the challenge of feeding a growing world, and doing it more environmentally sustainable than ever before.

Good Job Mr. Farmer! I am proud to be one too.