On Saturday October 20th October 2018 we toured a Hoober shop. When we first arrived I was blown away by the variety of equipment they sold. I thought they only sold what I imagined were tractors. However, that was only a small part of what they sold. We began the tour by looking around what they had on display in the shop. While we did this we were being given a brief history of the company. Shortly after this we went outside to see the much bigger tractors that they had but could not fit inside. This is when my mind was blown for a second time. The size of these tractors was extremely massive. At first I found the size to be intimidating, but then they said they would be able to drive these massive vehicles. The controls were somewhat counterintuitive to driving a car because you do not use your feet for the most part. Once I got the hang of it I had a blast. This turned out to be a very fascinating trip.
On Saturday October 7th 2017, our class went on a field trip to Hoober. During this trip, we learned about Hoober’s most popular choice in precision Ag equipment- the sprayer. (I have a picture attached of the sprayer I operated) The reason this is an important piece of equipment is due to it’s purpose of spraying pesticides or herbicides. This is a vital job that helps maintain the well being of a farmer’s crops from bugs consuming their crops or a foreign weed from taking nutrients/and or any other beneficial factor away from the crop. As far as what is new and emerging for precision Ag, they mentioned that a laptop is used to conduct many tests before equipment is operated such as soil conductivity, field data that could not be seen before… This is focused on data management; for instance, nutrient control is done this way because the farmer needs to put nitrogen down only where it is needed. A fun fact about Hoober: approximately 15% of their customers know how to utilize these specific features on their equipment.
Considering how much fun everyone had watching the two drones take off into the sky, we learned a considerable amount of information too. Such as the fact that one needs a license to fly drones. I believe Mike, at Hoobers, said he had a hobbiest license and some of his limitations are to fly below 400 feet high and to operate the drone within their eyesight. Drones have many purposes other than taking pictures of the fields and deciding how it should continue to be taken care of or where improvements must occur. It is used in real estate to sell the hotel rooms to military usage. In my opinion, precision Ag technologies have indefinitely changed the way farmers operate their farms because of precision planting- this is the usage of seed meters, wiring, controllers, and hardware. Mark made it vital to note the importance of the combine machine and how it can harvest corn, soybeans, lentil crops. It has many moving parts that need to be well contained. Mike and Brian commented that to work in the precision Ag field, one must have an Ag background, patience,and mechanical experience.
Overall, I’d like to say that I learned a significant amount of information from the field trip and learned how to operate (with instructions) a sprayer tractor. Also, Mark noted the extreme importance in the need for people who specialize in particular parts of the processes.