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Farmers use the latest technology but is it cost effective?

Posted at 7:08 AM, Mar 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-20 11:01:34-04

 

When it comes to farm equipment, advanced technology has helped farmers reduce the number of employees that’s been needed over the past 10 years, but the cost of farming is still on the rise.

“The equipment companies had to adapt to where a big farmer can cover all his land in that 10-14 day period. So they built equipment that can do that, and it cost a lot of money to do that.  You get to the harvest equipment, they run close to $800,000 now, and big tractors like our high horse power tractors we use for pulling in the summers, those tractors run in the $600,000 range by themselves,” said South Texas farmer Daniel Wendland.

Nowadays farmers have to spend more money to cut back.

“Due to the technology, I mean we have RTK systems on it where we can plow within a half an inch where we plowed last time. We are very accurate, very efficient, and we don’t double cover any more land than we have to,” said Wendland.

The tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and the European Union that the Trump Administration implemented in June, are now eating into farmers’ incomes, while creating higher prices on dealer lots.

“When they imposed a 20-25 percent tariff on aluminum or steel or whatever it is, that causes the price of machinery to go up, and that is more money out of our pocket that we had nothing to do with. That was a political game that cost us more money,” said Wendland.

With the cost of farming increasing, aging farmers, and the world population that is expected to expand to nine billion by 2050, there are real concerns about having enough farmers to feed the future.

“It’s going to be very interesting to see where farming ends up and where your food and fiber comes from. Because it’s going to be very difficult to produce on a massive scale when you can’t get into the business because of the expense of it,” said Wendland.