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Veteran Contributor

how much longer will the guy driving the tractor be needed

I keep reading how big data being used by the big companies are displacing the farmer. Does anyone here see the need for paying him much over minimum wage. He no longer picks the seed to plant orders the fertilizer or does much of anything of value. Seems like he has been maginilized anyone else seeing the hand writing on the wall. 

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Senior Advisor

Re: how much longer will the guy driving the tractor be needed

You mean make us like chicken farmers?

20 years ago I talked with a Cargill VP who predicted that they would lease the land and tell the farmer what to do.  It's slowly working toward that.

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Veteran Contributor

Re: how much longer will the guy driving the tractor be needed

From what I've been reading that's exactly whats happening at a very fast pace. The one article I read picking the variety of seed is mostly decided by the large companies. When you fertilize it's done with precision which is decided by many different parameters and the guy in the tractor doesn't need to know this anymore. Planters that drive themselves. Big data weather sensors tell you when to plant and when to harvest.  I'm just wondering exactly why would anyone pay more than minimum wage for someone to sit in a cab.

 

Yes Jim that guy was dead on just a few years ahead of his time but that time has come. Some older farmers who had total control still find themselves in denial example young guy says why dont we use  surveillance on our whole farm rather than spend hours driving here and there Oh no that would cost a lot of money. In reality you can buy all this for penny's

 

I'm just trying to get some idea what  time period you think all this will come together and "The Farmer" will no longer be needed. And by Farmer is I mean the guy in the tractor who knew when to plant what to plant how to plant when to fertilize and how much to use spray for weeds  and bugs, when to harvest how to store how long to store it and how to keep it from spoiling.  

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Senior Advisor

Re: how much longer will the guy driving the tractor be needed

I think the guy in the cab will always be needed if nothing else for safety and liability purposes.

How long have auto-pilots been around, to my knowledge nearly every plane in the sky still uses humans in the cockpit with maybe an exception of a few military flights.

IMO it all boils down to safety and liability especially with the sue happy society we've become today.
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Senior Advisor

Re: how much longer will the guy driving the tractor be needed

Forgot to add, if you want to pay someone minimum wage to operate nearly a $500,000 tractor and implement setup or even a new combine, be my guest.

Ever heard the old saying "You get what you pay for"?
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Senior Contributor

Re: how much longer will the guy driving the tractor be needed

I guess when we know for sure the field is perfect we could allow a minimum wage employee to drive expensive equipment. Is there a time when we can set in an office and tell the field is perfect? If I owned a half million dollar tractor and planter I would want someone in the seat that can make good decisions.
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