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Itâ€™s easy to look at nearly any particular industry and see how deeply GPS tracking devices have impacted workers and managers the world over. The automobile industry, law enforcement, researchers, manufacturersâ€”nearly every industry that must stay on the edge of the technological curve has used GPS tracking to be safer and more efficient. The agricultural community is of course no exception, and indeed, large farms present one of the greatest opportunities for GPS tracking to show its worth. Here are just a few ways farmers are using GPS tracking to improve their work and way of life.
Livestock tracking. The days of tracking by brand are over. Now a simple GPS tracking device can keep tabs on individual or even herds of cattle. Not only does this prevent theft, but GPS also gives farmers an idea of where their cattle prefer to graze, and how they might be guided to greener and more sustainable pastures. Researchers at the University of New England are now studying how farmers could best use GPS tracking technology to manage their grazing operations responsibly.
Crop mapping. Farmers can also use GPS tracking technology to map out their fields, thereby improving fertilization, crop dusting, and other treatments. Some farms in Texas are already employing an advanced tractor-mounted mapping technology that tests electrical conductivity in the soil and records data onto a map via GPS. Farmers can then fertilize their crops accordingâ€”putting extra over fields needing more treatment and putting less over those areas that require less attention.
The same technology can also aid in targeted crop dusting. Farmers have long been wary of using excess weed or insect killers, as some chemicals can have harmful effects over time as they build up. Using GPS tracking technology, farmers can scout their fields and note particular areas most affected by unwanted visitors. The location data can then guide crop dusters in targeting specific trouble spotsâ€”and not too much else.
Security. Farmers are often forced to deal with high incidences of theftâ€”whether of equipment or suppliesâ€”and GPS tracking can help lower the risk, or at least raise the chance of recovery. Many farmers view their GPS trackers as a bit of low-cost theft insurance, and if they ever discover some of their machinery stolen, the technology will certainly seem like a worthwhile investment.
Like nearly every other industry, agriculture has greatly benefitted from thoughtful and innovative applications of GPS tracking technology.