When I read the article “GET READY FOR ROBOT FARMERS” published by CNN Money on Oct. 21, I was reminded of the driverless tractor I saw years ago in the John Deere booth at Agritechnica, an international exhibition for agricultural machinery and equipment.

As mentioned in the article, “LettuceBot,” a farm implement that uses cameras and algorithms to thin lettuce, is another step towards the fully independent farm implements that entertain my imaginatio

n. The introduction of these kinds of futuristic equipment have long been predicted by great minds (and the worlds of major Hollywood motion pictures,) and are now a reality that has simply been fine-tuned for the agricultural industry. Though, perhaps humanoid robots that spout the occasional endearing wisecracks are not a likely outcome of the push for farm automation.

There has been some debate on whether smaller, special-purpose machines or larger multi-function ones would be more efficient. The former could mean single-use machinery, which is specialized to perform a single operation as efficiently as humanely — or robotically — possible, while the latter could refer to equipment, massive in size and scope, capable of executing a wide variety of functions at once. Both could stand to revolutionize the industry, either apart or when used in tandem.

Regardless, the capital investment required to make fields and other infrastructure robot-friendly may slow down acceptance of this fascinating technology. It’s an unfortunate truth that the most substantive of progress is often held up by a lack of available funds to put toward implementation.

I believe Agtron is well positioned to be a significant part of these developments in the no-so-distant future.

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*from precision farming dealer