From pickaxes and sickles to sensors and robots - farming sure has come a long way! Get ready to discover some of the high- (and low-) tech gadgets farmers love most!
Keeping track of how their plants and animals are progressing has probably never been easier for farmers, especially those who run large operations. Some of their very best old school tools have been joined by revolutionary gadgets. Together, they make farming much more fun and a little less labor-intensive.
Animal tracking is a pretty good example of this. Do you think you could recognize the many ways farmers now have at their disposal to identify and monitor their animals? The quiz includes a few of them. See how many you name correctly!
A number of these gadgets were developed specifically for agricultural use, but there are many others which you will find in homes and business which are far removed from the farm. Some of them are quite new and still evolving, making it an exciting time, indeed, for farmers who are certainly looking forward to each new development and the positive impacts it can have on their farms.
Farmers can certainly ace this quiz but if you are a combination techie, outdoorsman and do-it-yourselfer, then you shouldn't do too badly either! Think your thumbs are green enough for this quiz? It's time to find out!
Farming has fully embraced GPS technology with the advent of the driverless tractor. The farmer simply plugs in the appropriate coordinates and sets the tractor to work! It can be used in very much the same way as a traditional tractor and may even have soil sensors attached to gather field data.
Multi-tasking on the farm just got easier! Farmers can tend to other tasks while robotic cattle feeders measure, mix and deliver fresh feed to the feed fence several times a day. Being fed regular, small amounts is proven to be much better for the digestion and health of cattle.
Milking cows is a tedious task when done by hand but what if cows could practically milk themselves? Robotic milking setups allow farmers to free up some of their time and tend to other jobs on the farm. Cows in need of milking simply go to one of the milking stations and the robot does the rest!
All fence pliers serve the same basic functions - cutting and smoothing wires. They differ, however, in the configuration of their heads. For example, farmers can choose between one which looks like a regular hammer and another which has a spike on one side of its head and a bullnose on the other,
An agricultural drone can sweep over wide areas collecting and storing data about the state of a farmer's fields or livestock. This makes farm management much more efficient than the old method of driving around in your pickup truck all day long and doing the checks manually.
Plant sensors come in a wide range of styles with features such as taking readings of the amount of sunlight, ambient temperature and plant temperature. Some sensors can also detect the level of humidity, soil moisture, drainage and even the amounts of different nutrients in the soil!
Hay-making is a delicate-operation! It requires careful consideration of the weather, time of day and when to leave the hay spread out or gather it into windrows. Moving hay around so that it dries sufficiently while retaining the ideal moisture content is a job for the hay rake.
There are two common types of post hole diggers - the post hole shovel and the post hole borer. The first has a pair of shovels at the end of a long handle while the second looks and works like and auger (drill). A powered post hole borer lets you dig at superhuman speeds!
There aren't any fancy bells and whistles on this simple tool but it is essential when bales of hay need to be transported or stacked by hand. Some hay hooks are more curved than others so that workers with longer arms can use them efficiently.
The chisel plow, like the subsoiler, is used to break up hardened soil. It has shovel-shaped teeth which tear through the soil, earning it the nickname "ripper." Chisel plows are often the first piece of equipment used when deep tillage needs to be done quickly and efficiently.
Tags of any kind can serve as visual identification of individual animals in a herd. Tags which are equipped with a Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID), however, can track feeding, movement, milking and general health of livestock.
It's not just farmers who favor the multi-tool pocketknife - almost every outdoorsman and do-it-yourselfer has one! These handy gadgets typically feature at least a knife blade, toothpick, bottle opener, can opener, wire stripper, scissors, nail file and screwdriver.
The chain binder can add tension to a length of chain so as to tighten it around another object. Many farmers regard it as a very practical safety device for ensuring that chains used to hold a load in place on a trailer will not loosen or slip as the trailer is being pulled along.
The rumen bolus is a tracking device inserted into young ruminant animals such as cattle, sheep and goats. The device settles into the rumen (one of the four sections of the stomach) and remains there for the entire life of the animal. A rumen bolus can also be used to deliver medication to an animal.
It is possible to determine whether a plant is experiencing water-related stress by checking the surface temperature of its leaves. An easy way to do this is with an infrared thermometer, especially one built into a psychrometer which can also measure relative humidity and dew point.
The cultipacker is a heavy, iron roller which can be used over a seedbed both before and after seeds are dispersed. The ridges or cleats on the cultipacker work the soil just enough to ensure that air pockets are minimized so that even small seeds will have maximum all-round contact with the soil.
Farm work does not have to be back-breaking all the time - the powered wheelbarrow makes sure of that! it is far more efficient than a manual one since it allows the farmer to transport greater loads at faster speeds with minimal physical input.
This is a true "Jack of all trades"! It is put to many uses on a farm, including pulling and lifting like a come-along or winch, as well as pushing objects into place or squeezing components together. One task to which the farm jack is well-suited is lifting planted T-posts out of the soil.
When they first came onto the scene, power tools were the must-have gadgets on every farmer's list. They may not be as high-tech as many of the modern internet-connected, remote-controlled items available nowadays, but power tools like the cordless impact driver are still indispensable on a farm!
Visual ear tags have always served the basic function of identifying animals on a farm but with the application of new technology, electronic ear tags can do so much more! They help to monitor animal health by gathering data such as how often and how much an animal eats or is milked.
Manure from animals serves as organic fertilizer and is preferred by farmers looking to minimize or eliminate the use of inorganic (synthetic) fertilizers on their crops. The farmer simply has to hitch a manure spreader to a tractor and start spreading the goodness around!
Automated transplanters are much more efficient than the time-consuming, back-breaking alternative of transplanting seedlings manually. There are large transplanters which require a driver and can cover acres in a day, as well as small pull-along versions for use on small plots.
The soil sampler can help the farmer in fertilizer selection. It digs up a column of soil which can be tested to find out which nutrients are lacking or insufficient for the type of crop the farmer wishes to grow. Automated soil samplers can be connected to a tractor and collect over 10 samples at a time!
All it takes to operate a remote controlled mower is one finger on a joystick. That certainly beats pushing a traditional mower around in the hot sun for half a day! What's more, many remote controlled mowers are specially designed for working on flat as well as on sloping land.
The soaker hose is similar to a drip irrigation system but it works in a slightly different way. The typical soaker hose is made of recycled car tires which have a large number of holes in the material. Once the water supply is turned on, the water slowly seeps through the hose and wets the ground.
Some calf feeders have just one teat while others are equipped with more than a dozen. The feeders also differ in terms of their level of automation with the most high-tech versions being able to mix and deliver milk while monitoring the amount a calf consumes.
The electric drill is one of the most used power tools on a farm. A good quality, heavy-duty electric drill can take on almost any job, especially when paired with a circular saw. A cordless model will also have the advantage of being able to go anywhere on the farm.
It is very important for a farmer to quickly and reliably assess the moisture of grains. The amount of water in grain can affect its sale weight, how long it can be stored for and its overall quality. Many grain moisture testers are designed for use with multiple grains.
Plastic mulch is a simple and effective way to help farmers lower production costs. For example, it reduces or eliminates the need to buy herbicide and pay someone to apply it. Also, by decreasing evaporation of soil water, it lowers the farm's water usage and water costs.
The come-along is a ratcheting hand winch which may never do all the jobs a real winch can, but is quite sufficient for many farmers. It is a portable device which can be put to work straightening fence posts, making fence wire taut or hauling all kinds of loads from one location to the next.
The smooth running of any farm depends heavily on the maintenance and repair of equipment. Many farmers keep a ratchet and socket set handy for when they encounter nuts, bolts and screws which must be loosened or properly tighten with minimal effort.
IP (Internet Protocol) cameras can really set a farmer's mind at ease. Cameras equipped with a microphone and night vision mean the farmer can monitor the farm from the warmth and comfort of the farmhouse instead of having to trudge outside on a cold, dark night!
The post pounder or fence post driver comes in a variety of forms ranging from small manual models to large, hydraulic ones which are attached to a tractor. The type of post pounder a farmer selects will rely heavily on the size and number of posts to be installed.
Whether it is just a standalone flashlight or part of a more complex contraption, a good flashlight is an absolute necessity on a farm. It lights the way as a the farmer checks on livestock or crops at night and can provide sufficient illumination should a farm vehicle need repairs in the dark.
A rebar tie wire twister is normally used to connect reinforcing bars into an internal steel framework for reinforced concrete structures. The automatic rebar tie wire twister is a small, lightweight and easy-to-use tool which many farmers know is great for securing cattle panels to steel T-posts!
The backpack sprayer sends out a fine mist of liquid, allowing the farmer to apply just the right amount of herbicide or pesticide to a field or a single plant. Some models are battery-operated (as opposed to having to be pumped by hand) to make the job even hassle-free and quicker.
Just like with humans, how active an animal is can be a good indicator of how healthy it is. Pedometers attached to cattle can gather and relay information about how much or how little it moves about, giving the farmer some insight into whether the animal may be sick and in need of attention.
Digital tape measures are easy-to-read instruments since they have a screen to display the length measured. Some are similar to traditional tape measures with a metal tape which can be stretched over the required distance, while others make use of laser technology for measuring.
You may think, at first, that a leaf blower would be of little use on a farm, but it actually comes in handy in plenty of ways. For instance, some farmers use a leaf blower to blow off a combine, as well as to clean debris from a truck box.
Most of the high-tech gadgets used by farmers are accompanied by downloadable apps. By having these apps on a smartphone, the farmer can monitor and communicate with gadgets while on the go. Furthermore, some smartphones have built-in sensors which are applicable to farming!