Pushing the technological envelope, the streamlined tractor cabs of today increasingly resemble the cockpits of Hollywood science fiction space ships. Luxuriously ergonomic and digitally decked out, they are often described by big manufacturers as control centres. The term suggests once you’ve eased into the seat of a cab, the universe is yours to conquer. GrainsWest talked with three manufacturers about how technological change is reshaping tractor cab features and controls.
The agriculture industry faces pivotal challenges, and a new report from the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) suggests action is needed. Farmer 4.0: How the coming skills revolution can transform agriculture, details the precarious situation Canadian agriculture finds itself in as it faces a labour shortage, shrinking profits and its slice of global export markets diminishes.
Darcy Goossen has been farming full-time for more than two decades, but he’s been an inventor his whole life. The Ferintosh farmer can’t even count the number of “handy dandy farm tools” he’s made, but now there is one that certainly stands alone in his mind. Goossen’s Tiregrabber took home the prestigious honour of Best Invention at Canada’s Farm Progress Show (FPS) in Regina, SK, this past year. He edged out Robert Pytlyk, creator of a predator-proof chicken run.
When you picture life on farm, what do you see? You might think of hayfields or cattle grazing in a pasture. Perhaps images of combines and tractors with seeding implements come to mind. But what about digital field maps, robots milking cattle or farmers using tablets in the field?
My first cellphone was a Motorola bag phone, and when I first hoisted that puppy into my tractor back in the ’90s, I was pretty sure it represented the pinnacle of modern communication. It weighed about five pounds, was the size of a breadbox, and had enough wattage to double as an arc welder.