New Zealand farming is known worldwide for the efficiency of its production. That efficiency is largely based on the willingness of our farmers to embrace the latest advances in agricultural machinery.
Farmers in other countries, particularly in parts of Europe, are more likely to soldier on with “the way we've always done it” whereas here, change can come fast once people see the benefits.
This rapid adoption of advances in agricultural machinery is part of New Zealand farming’s competitive edge. Like anything though, you only keep the edge by keeping the focus. If you fall behind the technology curve, you’ll find yourself spending more and more time fixing old gear that is dragging down your farm’s production efficiency and embarrassing you in front of the neighbours, who meanwhile are reaping the benefits of their investment in the latest equipment.
In this blog, we show you how technology is changing farms across the country.
Automation is the big trend in agricultural machinery because of the increased efficiency it brings. Automated milking machines allow just a few workers to handle hundreds of cows daily. Autonomous Weeding machines mean your cash crop doesn’t have to compete for the goodness in your soil as well as saving on expensive chemical through targeted micro dosing. All sorts of automatic harvesters are coming to market, for everything from olives to potatoes, carrots, lettuce and kiwi fruit.
Robotic kiwi fruit harvester at work in an orchard
Better for the environment
Another key driver for innovation in agricultural machinery is to reduce farming’s environmental footprint. Technology such as moisture sensors, drones, smart irrigation and GPS-enabled tractors are allowing farmers to produce food more with greater efficiency as well as being more sustainable. Self-driving tractors such as the Case autonomous concept vehicle and maybe even FitBits for cows might not be for your farm yet but they are on their way. In the meantime, even advances in engine technology mean the latest agricultural machinery is much more fuel efficient than older models, reducing the diesel bill as well as earning you environmental brownie points!
Better for the finances
It can be tempting to turn to the second-hand market when it comes time to replace or upgrade some of your agricultural machinery. With such rapid developments in equipment, though, the downside of buying old is that you lock in old technology and miss out on the increased efficiency and production that comes with the latest gear. You might save on the initial outlay but the long-term cost will mount up, especially when you factor in repairs and time lost due to breakages. New, more efficient equipment will save you money in the long run.
Such an example is with the advancement of baling technologies... you may save on the initial outlay by buying a second hand baler, but this comes at the cost of missing out on the advantages a new high density baler has to offer. High density balers will reduce your bale transport costs & increase the feed value per bale as more forage is packed into the bale than ever before! allowing you to handle more forage at one time as well as allowing you to charge more for you bales (if your in the business of selling them).
High density balers enable farming operations to decrease bale handling costs as more feed value is transported and handled at any time
Less time, more production
One of the biggest gains in efficiency that new gear brings is that it means you can do the same work in less time, allowing you to either increase output or use the time saved to work on other productive areas of your farm. The versatility of modern agricultural machinery also means you are likely to find that new piece of kit can do a lot more than you first thought, bringing efficiency gains throughout the operation.
If you feel you are falling behind in the technology stakes, talk to your trusted agricultural machinery supplier about the innovations that can make a difference on your farm. That way you can stay ahead of the curve and reap the benefits in increased efficiency and production.
Find your nearest agricultural machinery dealer here: New Zealand Farm Machinery Dealers
If you're interested in reading about the technology updates from Fieldays 2018, click here.