Farms of the Future Will Run on Robots and Drones
By Taylor Dobbs on Tue, 09 Jul 2013
On a sunny day in an otherwise rain-soaked May, Forrest Watson, dirt caked on his work boots, kneels in the middle of his uncle’s cornfield and points at one of the thousands of knee-high stalks.
“This one,” he says, “should be over here,” poking the soil a few inches away.
It’s peculiar to think that Watson, 22, would be so particular about the location of a single stalk of corn among the 1,455 acres planted on his uncle Jeff’s farm in Avon, New York. But Mulligan Farm is a particular place. The tractors, which drive themselves, don’t stray from their paths by more than an inch. The planter, towed behind a tractor, knows the nutritional content of every square foot of every field. It plants more seeds in richer soil and fewer in the thinner stuff. Jeff Mulligan, the farm’s owner, hopes they’ll soon have access to small drones that can fly over the fields and monitor plant health from above.
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