Peanut Farming Case Study

One of the largest industries located in Dothan, Alabama today is peanut farming. Known as the “Peanut Capital of the World”, an astonishing half of the peanuts in the United States of America were produced within a 100-mile radius of Dothan Alabama (Alabama Farmers Federation). Dothan is also home to the Alabama Peanut Producers Association an organization that is interested in promotion, research and educational activities dedicated to enhancing the peanut industry (Thompson, 2013). Currently there are about 9 peanut farms located in Dothan. On average, Dothan produces about 400 million pounds of peanuts a year and that number is expecting to increase in years to come. In addition, Dothan holds National Peanut Festival that
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A growing trend of technological advancement in the peanut industry is auto steering tractors. The technology involves a system that uses GPS technology to assist farmers in guiding tractors and navigating through their fields. Auto-steering is leading farmers to bigger profit margins and higher crop yields; the technology, therefore, increased efficiency in harvesting by reducing the harvest time and reducing the number of peanuts left in the ground. A study conducted by George Vellidis who is a researcher at the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Science Tifton Campus indicated that the auto-steer technology outperformed ordinary methods by 439 pounds per acre in 2011 and 516 pounds per acre 2010 (Thompson, 2013). The technology has been adopted by an increasingly larger number of farmers over the past decade due to the inherent gains in efficiency that the auto-steering technology comes with. The way auto steering works is that, as the tractor is driven in a field, auto-steer gathers signals from a GPS and directs the tractor. Auto-steer creates corresponding pathways, which is the best option for farmers when planting and inverting. With the help of auto steering the tractor is able to follow the exact same centerline for both (Thompson, 2013).While this technology does help productivity it does not …show more content…
debuted a self-driving farming vehicle at the Farm Progress Show in Idaho. These vehicles are controlled via tablet and have the opportunity to offer autonomous tillage, seeding, and planting (Dormehl, 2016). In addition, they offer radar, cameras, and obstacle detection which according to Mark Neilson, Marketing Director at Autonomous Solutions Inc., “allows an operator to plan paths for fields, adjust paths for different implement widths, as well as manage multiple tractors running multiple operations in separate fields or in in tandem in the same field,” (2016). These fully autonomous vehicles are still a concept. They are able to operate but not available for purchase on the market yet due to development needs. As this technology evolves and becomes available to farmers in Dothan, Alabama the need for labor could see a huge decrease over the next 15 years. Neilson stated that, “Getting skilled labor is one of the key challenges facing farmers today. As we travel across the U.S., we keep hearing that farmers can’t get and keep good labor” (2016). This new technology could potentially eliminate this problem by reducing the need for labor all

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