While most people associate computers and advanced technologies with e-mail and gory CD-ROM video games, Marion Calmer thinks about higher profits and labor-saving practices on his 1,300-acre farm. Then again, Marion Calmer is far from being like most people.
Calmer, a no-tiller in Alpha, Ill., believes computers are the key to farming in the 21st century.
“The U.S. is second to none when it comes to farming,” says Calmer. “We need to continue this. Precision is everything.”
Calmer ought to know. Over the past few years he’s transformed his 1,300-acre farm into an on-farm research facility by testing, modifying and adjusting different farming methods to determine which is best.
When deciding what kind of new technology to try in your no-tilling operation, Calmer’s advice is to keep the technology simple.
“The technology has to be simple enough for my entire farm staff and me to be able to run it,” he says. “And that means being very user-friendly.”
Besides the simplicity of the machinery, Calmer stresses the importance of application.
“If there’s one thing I could say to farmers, it would be that application is everything,” he says. “Keep that in mind as you buy. Ask yourself how much money this new technology will make.”
There’s no need to step off the farm when doing research, says Calmer. In fact, you can turn your entire farm into highly valuable no-till research plots. All it takes is a few computers, precision planning and an open mind.