On Saturday, October 20th we visited the Hoober Inc. shop in Middletown, DE. It was an eye-opening day, full of learning and first-hand experience. First, the company’s history and services were explained. After receiving an explanation of the services provided, we took a tour of the facilities and the shop. We got the chance to see tractors and spreaders being worked on and complete models of combines and harvesters. It was intriguing to see how much work goes into precision agriculture. We learned that their store, the auto-steer is the most popular precision ag equipment sold. Precision ag is a field that offers many jobs, looking for applicants that are tech savvy and can work under pressure. A new and emerging precision ag technology being used are drones for filed scouting and spray applications.
** precision ag – managing crop production inputs (seed, fertilizer, lime, pesticides, etc.) on a site-specific basis to increase profits, reduce waste and maintain environmental quality.
When we went to the Hoobers it was really eye opening to see how much work goes into precision agriculture. And how much everything cost through equipment and how much things have changed for the good of farming. Between farmers and techs at hoobers where the tech can actually enter the computer from his office instead of riding out to the field. To see what’s wrong with it most of the time also they can fix certain things through the computer. What I enjoyed besides the driving the sprayer which I never drove before. Was walking through the mechanics shop and how much time and efforts they take in making sure everything is up to par before people by them from Hoobers. Also with the gps in the tractor and sprayer that we got to drive was cool you could press one button and hook on to the preset track and the auto steer would kick in and you didn’t have to touch the steering wheel.
This past Saturday the class took a field trip to Hoobers to see how much precision agriculture has truly impacted the industry. On the field trip my fellow classmates were able to see and experience how the use of GPS is used to work a field, auto steer technology, and drone technology. Although I was not able to actually attend, precision agriculture is something I a lot of experience with. Much of what was shown and talked about on the tour, I have actually been doing on my family’s farm for many years. Precision agriculture is something that still continues to amaze me every day.
One aspect of precision agriculture that I was able to work a lot with this summer, and that my classmates got to see, was the use of drone technology. This summer my family’s farm has really dove into the use of drones for crop health and scouting purposes. I got to see and actually fly drones over our fields and pretty accurately do stand counts, crop health indexes, and in general show problem areas in our fields that we would have never seen on foot. Seeing the information a drone can gather really gives farmers the opportunity to make the slightest change land management decisions to increase yield. For example, soil sampling specific sections of a field due to poor crop health during growth. Drones and many other aspects of precision agriculture shown on the Hoobers tour will continue to change the way we farm. Precision agriculture is something that still continues to amaze me every day and also is opening up so many new jobs for my generation.
The lecture we had from James Adkins on irrigation was very enlightening for me, because prior to this class I did not realize the significance and intensity that irrigation has on agriculture which ultimately becomes food on our plates. It is more than just a simple watering system which I am guilty for once thinking. However, this may be how it once was when the Babylonians started irrigation. The first and most basic irrigation system is gravity irrigation, which needs elevation to allow the water to run down. There are also pressurized gravity systems which includes a gated pipe. We have also learned about central pivot as well as other systems including surface and sub-surface drip. All these different systems has pros and cons that should be taken into consideration with the type of crop needing the irrigation. Something interesting that he mentioned was how the solution for the Dust Bowl was irrigation so that there would consistently be crops to take away from the dust, which needed irrigation to have year round.
Another topic that James brought up in his lecture that I also did not realize was so major prior to this class was drones. In addition to all the benefits and enhancements that drones bring to the agriculture industry, he included that infrared with red green and blue spectrum being an aspect of the drone footage which allows predictions on the crops. This also allow people to analyze and pick up on stress in certain crops that may not be seen with the naked eye.
Overall this lecture was beneficial and relevant to the discussions we have in class and has increased the useful knowledge I have gained from this class and is another topic that people should be more informed about because it does eventually effect them from the food that they eat!
Growing crops isn’t as simple as just watering the whole field every so often and hoping they’ll grow. The soil texture and make up, along with the crop type both play large roles in the frequency and efficiency of watering. Additionally, both of these factors can vary throughout one plot of land that is serviced by the same watering equipment. James Adkins spoke to our class about irrigation, which has developed greatly over time. Center pivot irrigation may be one of the more common types that the community is used to seeing, as they are designed as a giant sprinkler device that has paths to rotate position to reach every part of the field. In addition to center pivot irrigation, there are also a few other types: traveling gun, surface drip, and sub-surface drip. Each type provides different benefits and are best suited for different crops.
The newer technologies available to farmers, which include drones, allow farmers to recognize the different needs of their crops and land in individual areas, rather than just assess as one large plot. For example, the soil may change in the middle of a corn field, causing it to need more water than a different area. A drone is capable of flying above the field and using electro-conductivity mapping to spot weak and strong areas within a crop field! There are also handheld devices that test for soil conditions such as nutrients and water hold capacity that provide immediate results for that specific location within the field. Each of these new irrigation technologies have helped to advance agriculture, making it not only more efficient but also more conservation cautious and environmentally friendly!
During the lecture, I was very intrigued to see how technology and especially drones are incorporated into agriculture work. Watching the video about drone use in California just helped me understand the importance of emerging technology. It now only allows more efficiency and decrease the hard labor for workers and can give them more free time to work on any other important tasks. Not only are drones important but watching looking at GPS and how important it is to optimize returns and preserving resources. Farmers have to battle constant price increases and smaller profit margins and the only way to keep up and sustain a profit making farm, is to incorporate precision AG into their daily tasks. It not only helps them make more money, but it increases their quality of life, whether that be giving them more time to spend with family etc.
The picute above is my classmates and myself on one of the tractors we were able to opperate
Being able to understand todays agriculture and how we get our food from farms to markets is an unbelieveable experience. The technology we have today, helps us further agriculture along with being able to feed over seven billion people! One of the main ways that agriculture has become easier for farmers is GPS systems. WIth this power farmers are able to use drones to scope out either the issues that are in their crop so they can make adjustments for the next set of crops. While at Hoobers we got the opportunity to see two different drones. One of the drones had the power to fly over an hour and has differnt cameras to show drout in crops! The other drone was able to fly for about thirty minutes but was able to fly by the users phone. The technologyg used today is not only invested in drones; tractors have the capibility to have automatic stearing and can be positioned by satalites to keep in a very precise line and cause little to no errors with the spacing in the crops!Technology is beyong incredibe and will continue to grow and imrpove the world around us.
Our trip to Hoober opened my eyes to the direction agriculture will take for the next generation of farmers. The fact that a new combine without any additions costs roughly $400,000 is mind-blowing. It’s hard to imagine that a piece of farm equipment can cost more than a house; which shows the opportunities for monetary success in the field of agriculture. With many new tractors, combines, and sprayers already having built-in automatic steering, it will be nearly impossible to do any large scale farming in the future without incorporating Precision AG. The drone demonstration was extremely interesting, especially the ability of more expensive drones to track nutrients, plant stress, moisture, and other important pieces of data. The accident prevention feature of the drone was awesome to witness in person. I imagine in twenty years we will forget what it was like to drive a tractor manually or to scout a field on foot.
This Saturday we visited Hoober’s equipment company. Seeing their showroom, combines, tractors, and drones was very interesting. I was shocked to learn that one of their drones cost $10,000! The fixed wing drone could fly for about an hour, and take hundreds of different pictures of a farmer’s crop. I never knew exactly how much went into being successful at precision agriculture until I learned about all of the amazing technology that Hoobers can supply to their clients. Aside from using drones, they can outfit old and new farm vehicles with hi-tech devices like auto steering and numerous sensors. I also enjoyed seeing the garage where the mechanics worked on different combines, sprayers, and tractors. At the end of our field trip, we all got to drive a tractor and see what it is like. Even though it is a massive piece of equipment, it was surprisingly easy to maneuver and drive. Overall, I learned a lot and enjoyed our visit to Hoober’s.
This past Saturday field trip to Hoober’s was an eye opener into the equipment side of agriculture. It really put into perspective the amount of labor and money that goes into each machine. It did make me appreciate the investment each machine really is and I do agree with Mark that whenever I pass by a machine again I will know more about it and appreciate how much money and time that farmer actually has put into that machine. Of course with technology, it is not perfect but lucky for people that own Hoober equipment they have a great repair shop with specialized mechanics to handle specific pieces of equipment. When a machine has to be fixed that is time and money wasted on repairs for the farmer. Having someone who is specialized for one machine is great for fixing it in an efficient amount of time because they know what they are doing so the farmer can get right back to using it.
I learned about a couple pieces of equipment they had like the combine, sprayers, and planters that I had never been that close to before. The tires were taller than I was! The best part was being able to ride and drive one of the planters. It was a lot smoother than I thought it was going to be and it even had a radio and air conditioning. The amazing technology allowed you to pick a straight line and the machine would straighten itself out and go along that straight line for you. They even had drones that could look at the whole field of crops and tell which plants were not growing efficiently. Drones are great for raising the farmers’ crop yield. Precision Ag is changing constantly to help farmers grow even more crops and faster.
On our class trip to Hoober’s, we learned how important technology is in agriculture and how that trend will continue to increase. They explained what precision ag entails and how much easier and efficient it has made farming. Hoobers biggest sellers for precision ag products are sprayers and retrofitting old planters with the newest technology, making it more economically viable. They explained how the always changing technology makes their job exciting, but also how keeping up with it is one of the biggest challenges. The burnout rate for working with precision ag was only 18 months! It was amazing to see how specialized the mechanics at Hoober’s were; they had combine mechanics, sprayer mechanics, planter mechanics, etc. and it made sense after seeing how many parts went with each piece of equipment. It was also interesting to see how advanced drones have become and how they have become a big part of agriculture. The trip really showed how essential it is to be computer competent if studying agriculture because that is unquestionably the future.
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!
On October 7th, 2017, my classmates and I had the opportunity to tour Hoober Inc. and witness the advances in technology that has helped progress agriculture as a whole. While there, we learned that a huge event that allowed for such a jump in technology for farming was the publics authorization to use satellites for GPS. This allowed for automatic steering, drones, and a lot of other precision ag advancements to come along, making farming much more economical, timely, environmentally friendly and efficient. It was really interesting to see how production agriculture has changed throughout the years as technology advanced. Hoober sells new and used equipment so we were able to witness how tractors and combines progressed. Another service Hoober provides is upgrading old equipment to practically brand new, up-to-date machinery. They basically take the “bones” of a piece of equipment and modify, update and upgrade the systems and mechanics of it – this is often more economical than outright buying a brand new piece of machinery. I could really tell that Hoober’s was in business for the right reasons and to really help their customers. It was great to see such an honorable business model.