It is time to give the topic of the weather a rest, isn’t it? Yes, I thought so. There is not much else to say about this winter that has not already been said.
I am going to change the subject completely by repeating a phrase I like to say, “You can do anything if you connect the right wires together.”
Long ago, the right wires were connected and a light bulb glowed in the dark. Think about that. No more kerosene lamps that were a fire hazard. No wicks to trim or kerosene to buy. A simple switch replaced matches. In addition, it was soot free.
As homes were converted to electric lights, it must have been a great step forward. Years went by and improvements continued with running water followed by hot water all because the right wires were connected.
Radios were introduced and then television, first in black and white and then color. Then instead of listening with one speaker, we could listen to two speakers because stereophonic sound was introduced. This was all because someone connected the right wires.
Fast forward to today. The right wires are still being connected and amazing things are happening.
I have always been a fan of electronic devices going back to transistor radios. Today’s toys are satellite radios and GPS devices including the yield monitor in the combine and the little box that gives me directions to any location in the country.
I am sure my amazement at hearing a voice giving me precise directions while an image on a screen tells me my position is the same wonderment that occurred so long ago when the switch was flipped on that first light bulb in homes across the country, when they connected the right wires together.
In the years since that first light bulb, wires have been connected together creating telephones and computers. Cell phones were developed when telephones were connected to computers creating the network we use so effortlessly. My wife’s car has its own phone number that is in the memory of my cell phone and the numbers for other family members.
Computers operate diesel engines and transmissions, adjusting fuel amounts and shift points. GPS satellites do not just help measure yields; they guide tractors, adjust fertilizer spreaders and control sprayer rates all because someone connected the right wires.
How good is our technology? It is so good that by connecting the right wires together we can become wireless. We carry telephones in our pockets while our computers move from place to place maintaining an internet connection (as long as our batteries are charged).
What next? From a light bulb long ago to my favorite mix of music that is actually a computer file playing in my ear today, I do not know what is in the future. It would seem that if you can imagine it, you can create it.
I can imagine a time when tractors and combines cross the threshold, performing their duties as robots. They receive their guidance from satellites and instructions over the cell phone network while using the same network to relay their progress back to someone sitting at a computer. One farmer controls and operates several tractors in fields not even close to each other.
A combine no longer has a driver, but is operated from a remote position. The driver of the grain cart controls the combine with his cab-mounted computer or a device that resembles a TV remote control. The yield monitor display is read in the tractor with the grain cart.
Tillage is being done by remote control in a field that has just been harvested. Working in the daylight or dark makes no difference. They do not even need lights.
This will happen because someone connects the right wires together. It is a matter of time and probably closer than you know.
Has anyone heard the weather forecast?
Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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