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Farming practices today hardly resemble those of a generation ago. Gone is the simple tractor and combine. Farming today is about using advanced technologies to maximize crop yields and maximize profits for the farmer. Computers and satellite imaging are valuable tools for the modern farmer.
Satellite imaging gives a farmer an accurate picture of what is happening on his farm. Gone are the days of surveying the health of a crop by driving through the fields. By getting an overall view of the entire crop field, a farmer can get a much better idea of how to best spend his time and money on fertilizers, irrigation and pesticides.
Farmers can use satellite imaging to create computer models of the crop fields with information about the differences in soil structure, elevation, slope, fertility and drainage. This information can be deployed to design a system of agricultural maintenance and efficiently apply fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and water.
Farmers rely on computers to help them assess and use the data from satellite images and from various other electronic monitoring systems on the farm. The computer is able to control the application of certain fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides through automated delivery systems. The computer also allows for the precise application of water through irrigation systems. The computer turns on and off irrigation based on the needs of the crop.
Combines and sprayers use an array of computers and GPS systems to guide them around crop fields. By using GPS and computers, a farmer can avoid over-seeding or over-spraying areas, because unlike humans, the computer system can accurately judge the path of the sprayer or combine on each pass across the field.
Cody Todd began writing in 1997 for the "Calgary Herald." His work has also appeared in the "Vermilion Standard," "Taber Times," "Vauxhall Advance," "Lethbridge Herald," "Medicine Hat News" and the "Strathmore Standard." Todd has won numerous awards for his writing and photography. He graduated from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology with a photojournalism diploma.