Hoober Inc. is a three-generation family-owned farm equipment company. With 9 locations in the Mid-Atlantic, Hoober Inc. is the region’s leader in precision farming. If there was one thing I took away from this awesome field trip it would be that technology is take the agricultural world by storm. Efficiency makes money, and when money is being made everyone is happy. For the farmers finding ways to collect data more efficiently is key. Drones are the perfect solution. You can set the drone’s route and they fly high above the farmer’s field while taking pictures so when it comes back down the farmer can see if there are any problems with his crops. Drones cut out a lot of time that the farmer would have to spend walking through his field looking for damage. Technology plays a significant role for companies like Hoober as well. When farmers come in to have their equipment worked on they expect it to be done quickly because the longer they have their equipment in the shop the more money they are losing. Technology and the specialists that work for Hoober allows there to be a quick, efficient turn around. Just like with any piece of technology, it doesn’t always cooperate so that is why Hoober incorporates specialists into their company. If a diagnostic tool break down, they can rely on a specialist to be able to figure out the problem faster than someone who has just a general knowledge of all the farm equipment. A job in precision agriculture doesn’t necessarily require a college degree but it does demand patience and common sense which may prove to be more difficult than acquiring a college degree.
During our trips to Hoober’s Inc. many new things came to my knowledge about the use of precision agriculture in our country. When talking to the gentlemen who worked their, they were able to give us a tour of the shop where most repairs occur. Within the shop their are specific people who work on specific things, such as guys who may only focus on combines, where another guy may focus on just only tires. Also we were able to view the use of a drone, which was pretty amazing. The drone itself allows farmers to view their fields in just minutes, helping them before, during, and after the season. It allows farmers to diagnose problems as well as fix them. Finally the best part of the trip in my opinion was the experience of driving the tractor. Never driving one before really opened my eyes on the use and how a tractor could be so useful. I could really picture a future in this line of work
This past Saturday, I spent the day at Hoobers! I was able to look at different type of precision AG machinery, such as auto-steer, and seed squirters. Seed Squirters are a way to get water to a plant without over watering and limiting the amount of diseases. I was also able to take a look at different types of machinery such as sprayers, tractors, and quadtracs. I was extremely excited to get to drive the sprayer, and I was blown away at the amount of technology inside the cab. To see how big and expensive these machines are, is truly amazing. People underestimate how hard it is to be a farmer, and to see the type of technology that they use and how complex it is, is very eye-opening. I very much enjoyed my time at Hoobers and I hope I’ll be able to visit again.
The last field trip we went on was to Hoober Equipment. Honestly, I think this was the most interesting trip we have been on so far. I did not know most of the information given on Saturday, whereas at Fifer’s Orchards, I did, being a Plant Science Major.
We started out the tour by hearing about the history behind the company, and how the two employees got to where they are now. Their business is very important in the ag industry, and precision ag is a phenomenal thing. We walked around and saw a lot of different machines, and they were all so big! Of course we got to see their toy- a drone! That was amazing; being able to have the drone survey the field while you spend your time doing something else. Before we left, we all got the opportunity to drive a machine, and here I am doing it!
Technology has evolved in every aspect over the years. Today, we all own some form of technology to benefit our lives. I mean who else ever imaged having a computer at their fingertips? Even our farms have evolved with technology. From the structures to the sprayers to the seeds, technology has benefited not only the farmers life, but every person on this Earth. Technology has allowed farmers to grow more food with less land.
According to Hoober’s Employees, it all begins with the seed. Seeds are genetically modified and selectively bred to produce a better product. This process will was discussed to our classes previously and will have a post of it’s own in the near future.
Next, technology benefits begin with a seedling to the end product that is harvested. In the beginning a planter, which plants the seeds, has evolved in a variety of ways. Today a planter can turn off rows that are already planted and the tractor can drive itself with an operator in the seat to have straight rows. Then, the sprayer has changed. A sprayer puts herbicides, pesticides and other products that plants needs. 99% of the liquid coming out of a sprayer is water! Technology has allowed no overlap to occur which economically keeps the exact amount of products needed on the field, which allows for no runoff. Lastly, combines which harvest the crop has the same monitor as the planter and it can harvest the same exact way it is planted with the GPS system. My classmates and I experienced this first hand on our field trip to Hoobers in Middletown, DE.
Now these are only a few changes that has allowed technology to change our lives. Many other pieces of equipment allow farmers to feed our growing population, such as drones, computers, soil types, etc. From now on think about how well technology has benefited you from all aspects!
Unfortunately I was again unable to accompany the class on the Hoober field trip due to family. However I do have experience with the company and it’s tractors. From my knowledge Hoober or (CaseIH) uses the most recently retired and applicable, military technology in their tractors. This allows them to stay on the forefront of the technology curve which is very important in agriculture. From ever evolving transmissions, to engines, to hill stabilization, to advanced PTO management in tractors; and environmental control units in chicken houses and green houses; and in field condition testers. Technology is always being improved upon in the world of agriculture. Better technology means less work needs to be done to produce higher yields of better crops or animals. If a farmer (especially in modern times) does not keep up with the ever expanding list of technological advancements then he/she will fall behind very quickly and it will be increasingly more challenging to stay competitive and profitable.
Our third trip was to the faraway land of Middletown, DE to visit the Hoober Farm Equipment store. Hoober is a company that sells and services all types of agricultural equipment, from planters to harvesters and everything in between. The tour started inside of the store where we met Brian Lam and Dave Wharry, who gave us a brief history of the company. We learned that the company was founded in 1941 and has been run by the same family for three generations!
I had always thought that farm equipment was relatively simple – big hunks of iron that plow, plant and harvest. But as we also learned, that isn’t the case! Almost all modern farm equipment is incredibly advanced and almost entirely run by computers. Tractors and other vehicles use satellites and GPS to farm land without even needing a driver! In fact, their most used tool in equipment repair and diagnostics is a small laptop – just plug it into your tractor and it can figure out what your problem is, and how to fix it. And of course, we can’t mention technology without talking about their drones. We were lucky enough to witness a demonstration of a $10,000-dollar drone that is used for surveying areas – just create a route for the drone to fly using the computer software and watch it fly! It can take pictures of distinct types of wavelengths to survey farmland and diagnose any potential problems that a farmer may have.
Before leaving, we all got the opportunity to drive tractors and sprayers around the lot for ourselves. I must admit that I was a bit nervous driving a piece of equipment that costs more than my house, but after a bumpy start I was able to complete the track and safely park it back in the lot. But as nervous as I was, I had a ton of fun and could absolutely see myself driving one in the future!
The trip to Hoober’s was probably my favorite field trip I have ever been on. I have many friends who have gotten the chance to use the precision ag technology for work so It was an amazing experience to not only be able to drive a tractor but also use the auto steer. My second favorite thing about this field trip was learning about the use of drones in the field of agriculture. It may not be the most common piece of precision ag technology like the yield monitor but it is one that saves farmers money and time. They allow farms to find a problem without personally going out and checking acre. The drones advance technology makes them very accurate and the changes in regulations has made them more accessible to many. I found it amazing that something that can be used so many things outside the ag industry can be so useful to farmers.
The third field trip of the fall semester for Understanding Delaware Agriculture was to Hoober Inc. in Middletown Delaware. Hoobers is a Case IH Agricultural Equipment Dealer that is invested in new technology. On the tour, we were taken through the shop and saw the complexity of tractors and how difficult they are to work on. We then toured the equipment yard and saw the comparison between 1980’s combine and tractor technology and brand new technology. We were then demonstrated on and allowed to drive a tractor equipped with GPS and auto-steer. The technician explained how to map a path for the tractor and then match it to the GPS and let the system take over. Along with the GPS guided tractor, a drone with GPS was also demonstrated. The drone is being marketed to farmers for scouting fields using high powered cameras. Drones can also be used to observe irrigation patterns and where crops are being starved of nutrients. There has been testing on using drones to scout for animals in heat that are kept in large herds. These drones are also being marketed to construction companies to map out sites, and take videos of resorts for the tourism industry.
Dr. Issacs talked about the trip to Hoober’s from the first day of class and that we would b able to drive a tractor (some of us, myself included, for the first time ever). He told us of how they sell and specialize in precision agriculture. While there we got a tour of their facility and learned some of the history of precision and the machines using in farming. One of the newest advances in precision agriculture is drones. Drones can be used to look over the fields in a timely manner without having to walk all over the farm. The possibilities with drones could be endless as the technology for them gets better.
I grew up in a semi-rural area and I have seen my fair share of farms, but I never drove a tractor before so I was looking forward to it from the moment I was told about it. Interesting enough this wasn’t just any old tractor is was a relatively new one that was self-guiding. It used a satellite track that the driver has the tractor record and it replicates that exact track, in some tractors down to a few inches. So while driving the tractor and recording a path with a few turns we just basically flipped a switch and the tractor used the satellite map to follow our path. I was really cool thinking about seeing old rusted up tractors back home (and one at Hoober’s) and seeing how far technology has come for precision farming in the recent decades.
(Our class at the end of the day)
On our third trip we took a slightly less distanced trip to the precision agriculture store known as Hoobers. Hoober’s employees being well versed in the installation of yield monitors as they stated them to be their most popular piece of precision agricultural equipment. After being given a brief tour of their facility and discussing the different types of equipment and machinery used, we were split into two separate groups. One group would briefly learn about the many uses of drones in agriculture today while the other group would get the opportunity to steer a tractor themselves. To my discovery upon driving a tractor for the first time, i was amazed at how great of a turn radius tractors have. Driving one of those vehicles of machinery for the first time will be an experience i will never forget. learning about the many uses of drones today was also very interesting as drones give a new aerial perspective for the agricultural world today like no other.
On our third field trip to Hoobers we were able to see how and why precision Ag is is used. Hoobers sells precision Ag equipment from trackers to yield generating systems. During the field trip we where shown how drones are being implemented for recording data in crops with the use of semi infrared cameras which may play a huge roll in Ag in the future. We also had the chance to drive a tractor and see how a GPS is used to plant crops and increase the crop yield for farmers. While driving the tractor we where shown how the computer system can drive the tractor on its own as well. The trip was very informative and I found it very interesting on how the use of drones is now being used in Ag.
On 10/26/16 Mr. James Atkins visited our Delaware Agriculture class to give us a guest lecture about agriculture irrigation and its new and growing technologies. Mr. Atkins showed us different irrigation systems used in today’s agricultural farming practices. Some of these different systems of irrigation include the traveling gun, shallow surface and subsurface drip irrigation, and the most widely used center pivot system. He further explained that new technologies have been outfitted on center pivot irrigation systems to increase their efficiency such as zone and variability controlling and even corner arm extension pivot systems. Zone and variability controlling refers to specific control of each individual water dispensing nozzle on the center pivot irrigation system. Using variability irrigation, farmers are able to efficiently irrigate their crops without over watering or under watering in specific areas of the field, for example, if the farm is not perfectly level then some crops would get more water than others. These new technologies greatly increase the precision agriculture for everyday local farmers. The corner arm extension for the center pivot irrigation system really comes in handy when your farm isn’t a perfect circle. The extension arm acts as its own pivot system to get those hard to reach areas of your crop field. James Atkins also showed us new and upcoming forms of agriculture technologies such as the use of drones. He explained that drones are being used more and more in the agriculture industry for things like scanning and surveying farm lands. Using drones is another important aspect of becoming a more efficient and accurate farmer when it comes to planting, harvesting, and watering.
The third field trip the class went on was to visit the Hoober store in Middletown Delaware. Brian Lam and Dave Wharry were kind enough to talk with our class and show us around the store! We got to see the selling floor, the garage where repairs are ongoing, and the back and side yards were different tractors and parts sits until needed.
Our class split up into two groups, one group having the opportunity to drive a tractor and another see a drone in action! For the drone presentation we watched Mr. Wharry program the drone right from his phone and send it off to survey part of the property. He talked about how regulations on drones have changed, and how because of the changes, he hopes that they will become more mainstream for farmers to use. He also told a story about doing some scouting with the drone and it accidentally flying over a man’s property, who was not very happy about it. But after discussing what he was doing, why and how, the mans attitude had gone from hostile to interested and even impressed!
Mr. Lam took students in drives in one of the stores tractors to show us the precision Ag equipment. He had each driver go around different puddles or posts, and then after turning the tractor around had them push a button to activate the auto steer and take their hands off the wheel. It was crazy to be sitting in the cab of a tractor that is driving itself, and along the exact route that we took to get there, around the puddles and posts!
This was a super cool trip to see the technological side of Ag and really see hands on how it’s being used!