What is in this article?:
- Mobility is one of many factors that may draw farmers to using wearable computers.
- Visual, textual and other data uploaded on the go via Google Glass and other wearable devices will not only be available for future reference but can also be shared on a real-time basis.
GREG PATE, an agronomist and director of the E.V. Smith Research Station near Montgomery, Ala., uses Google Glass to scout cotton for the first time in history. In this case he is checking for boll rot.
“We have lots of farmers who receive data compiled by a scout and question it or dismiss it as someone’s opinion,” Pate says. “Now, with Google Glass, all a consultant has to do is pull up the data that was compiled automatically and say, ‘Here it is.’”
It is this feature — uploading data into a cloud from which it can conveniently be retrieved for future reference — that appeals to Pate, who, as director, is ultimately responsible for every facet of the farming operation at E.V. Smith. An early adopter of precision farming, he is always searching for labor- and cost-saving technology in an era of spiking farm costs and lean budgets.
As a practice, Pate spends plenty of time with his laptop familiarizing himself with what variety was planted in what field, though his memory occasionally fails when he’s standing in the middle of a field.
“We plant so many varieties, and when I’m in a particular field, I need to know instantly what variety I’m standing in versus what was planted 20 feet away, because these are going to be managed differently.”
“I like the thought of being able to scan each bag of seed before it goes into an individual planter — not only to scan it but also to geo-reference it so I know where everything is planted,” he says.
“With Google Glass or some other wearable device, you have the potential of knowing this instantaneously.”
The instantaneous recordkeeping afforded by wearable computers also would offer the potential to producers of compiling a crop-year record never before conceived, one that will help farmers demonstrate to consumers that the crops were raised not only according to the safest production standards but also in an environmentally sustainable manner.
“A safe and environmentally sustainable food supply is what the consumer public increasingly demands,” Fulton says. “The challenge has been finding ways to track the production process in the most accurate and cost-effective way possible.
“Google Glass and other wearable devices may turn out to be the solution we’ve been searching for.”
More from Southeast Farm Press