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over-reliance on technology?  RSS feed

 
Burra Maluca
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Tj Jefferson
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Booo. Bad Burra.

I'm sharing this.
 
Nicole Alderman
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It is facinating, though, how quickly we rely on technology, without even thinking about it. We've gone years without a cellphone, but got a prepaid phone for a long drive to see family (in case of car trouble). We stayed at my cousins house, and they'd left and let us lock up. In the course of leaving, my little baby's diaper leaked poo on the bedsheets.We were at a loss for how to tell them what happened, so we called their cellphone and left a message. I thought at the time, "Thank goodness we have this cellphone, I don't know how I would have told them without it!" .... It didn't occur to me until much later that we could have just gotten a piece of paper and written a note and taped it to the door. But, since we had a cellphone, that was what we thought of, rather than the old fashioned way. Humanity lived without these "amazing" cellphones for centuries, but now people can't think of how to live without one...because they don't live without one!
 
Travis Johnson
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I have farmed my whole life so I kind of have an issue with this stuff. Maybe I am just getting old (43) and getting disgruntled.

For starters I do not have a cell phone, and honestly I don't need one. I had my car break down one time, and since 93% of the population does have one, I had so many people stop, and offer theirs that I would never have the need for one. Someone even called the police, so as I waited on a cold day, we had the greatest conversation about foster care, kids, and society and when I was done I said, "jeesh I am glad I broke down and had this great conversation with you." As for cell phones though, since I am among 7% of the population that does not have one, I just joke that I am 6% closer to being a 1%'er! Considering the cost of cell phone plans, it is not far from the truth.

As for farming, technology wise it is just getting bad. I call it "paralysis by analysis" and that is where farming just comes to a complete stop because people think they must do x, y and z to farm. Nonsense! People having been raising sheep for 9000 years, and a person can continue to raise sheep the same way...green grass in, brown poo out, along with white liquid out to the lambs, and bang...green grass converted to delicious red meat. Yep it is just that easy. Been that way for 9000 years.

One of the keys to understanding technology and how it plays into farming is to consider what the type of farm can handle. A sheep farm has low cash flow since lambs are only sold a few times a year. This dictates that a sheep farm be very low tech in order to be cost effective. This is in stark contrast to dairy farming where the farmer gets a milk check every two weeks. Because of that, they can be high tech and still be viable.

There is a joke like this: A person who sees a glass tumbler half filled with milk is called an optimist, and one who sees it as half empty is called a pessimist, but the person who sees the glass as being too big is called an engineer. I have always said on here "it is just a guess unless you test", but really that is only half true. What testing does is allow you to put the exact amount of something on to cure a problem.

Here is a case in point. Last night I spent $15 on a soil test for a field that is way down in production. It cost another $4 to send it, so that is $19 for a soil test. It will give me exact amounts to cure my yield problem so that has merit. However because the sword is showing an inverted yellowing pattern, I already know it is a nitrogen deficiency problem, and a lack of Smooth Bedstraw tells me it is NOT a low PH problem. So in this case technology (soil testing) is not telling me something I don't know, it is just telling me exact amounts. By not over-apply nitrogen, and only applying the lime I need, the soil test will pay for itself. This is in contrast to my vet who wants to ultrasound sheep after breeding season so we can feed the sheep according to singles, twins and triplets. That would be cool information to know, but the cost of doing that is far more expensive then the cost of feed of feeding every sheep as if it had triplets. Or alternatively, feeding every sheep as if it had twins and having a slightly higher mortality rate on the ones who do get triples.

So it is not that technology is always bad, it is not calculating its return on investment that can really get a farmer into trouble.

A Total Station for land survey will set a person back by $5,000, where as a string and a line level will do the same thing for $15. Either way it is the farmer's choice. Me; I stayed away from technology for the most part and use my noggin as workarounds. Has it worked? I retired at age 42, you be the judge.



 
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