Farmers need better training in today's technologies

Computerized scanners sort potatoes in Florida.
Computerized scanners sort potatoes in Florida.
Today's advanced farm equipment technologies can greatly enhance productivity, but only if farmers take the time to learn how to use them properly.

That's the message of technical instructor Jimmy Presley, in a column appearing on the website of Delta Farm Press.

"Everyone involved in agriculture faces these same challenges," Presley writes. "To survive in the world market and to profit, we must continually become more and more efficient in our operations."

New computerized agriculture equipment can map fields, record seeding data, turn on and turn off irrigation systems and capture yield data.

In South Florida, the Troyer Brothers potato farm uses an optical scanner in the packinghouse to grade and sort potatoes - as many as 64,000 an hour, according to a report in the Fort Meyers News-Press.

But all of these innovations require training for operators, technicians and even the dealers who sell the equipment.

Presley recommends that farm owners and farm managers either learn the new technologies - or hire someone who does.

Operators’ manuals provide adequate information and equipment manufacturers usually offer online training or instructor-led customer training for their products.

In addition, many ag equipment dealers have staff to help customers with installation and set up of the systems, according to Presley.