Farmers embrace tractor technology

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Technology advancements have entered the world of farming in a variety of ways in recent years.

“Probably the biggest thing today is the AMS (Ag Management Solutions) portion of it,” said Maury May, of Ray Lee Equipment in Clovis.

According to May, the AMS is an autotrack system that allows tractors to drive themselves with satellite assistance. The equipment has become a standard feature on new tractors and he expects that within a few years all farmers will have the new technology.

For Roosevelt County farmer Jim Chandler, the advances in technology for farmers has allowed for several things to improve. Having a tractor that drives itself has eliminated the need for row markers, and has improved accuracy when working in the fields. By having the GPS (global positioning system), Chandler is able to continue working at night, he said.

“It was pretty nice when we were planting,” said Chandler, who grows hay, corn and haygrazer.

Chandler, who also does custom farming including baling and swathing, stated that another added benefit of the new technology is that if a program is entered into the system, it can be called up again for the next year. He said the new equipment also carries over into the implements. Monitors on planters help to keep track of seed population and other factors, he said.

“We get a lot more done with a lot less effort,” Chandler said.

Employed in the farming equipment industry for the past 20 years, May has seen a lot of changes. He stated one of the biggest changes has been the size of the equipment. Advancements have created models that are more fuel efficient and last longer, along with the better technology, he said.

“It’s way different than it was 20 years ago,” May said.

With 32-foot computer monitored swathers, Chandler has been able to increase his production. On a given day, he can swath a circle in about two hours and have it baled within three hours. Starting in the morning, he says he can quickly have enough hay swathed to keep his employees busy baling for the rest of the day, allowing him to tend to other chores.

“It helps us to be more productive,” Chandler said.

Chandler carries the technology over into his sprinklers as well. Two of the sprinklers that he runs are Internet capable. They can be turned on and monitored via a cell phone or computer. If a problem occurs, the sprinkler has the capability to call his cell phone and let him know. Before this advancement, he had several sprinklers that could be programed to run a specific way, but could not troubleshoot like the new ones can, he said.

“There’s a lot of technology. It takes a lot of practice to make those things work right,” Chandler said of the equipment.