Articles, Blog

Farming in Manitoba: Equipment

November 6, 2019


(bright music) – [Voiceover] Here’s a segment from Prairie Public’s
documentary series, Built on Agriculture. It examines the role
of modern machinery and farming experience
in establishing a successful Manitoba
farm operation. (country music) – When you look at
what does it cost to outfit an average
Manitoba farm, you’re gonna look at well
over a million dollars in new equipment, easily. Farmers are adopters,
farmers are innovators, they are continuously adopting and adjusting all the time, and products, solutions,
service, technology provides a true value
to a farm operation, it will be adopted very quickly. Precision agriculture,
it’s a bit of a mind-set. It’s the ability to
measure, monitor, every single task on a farm, and how do I attain the
highest efficiencies out of every task, every
operation on my farm? I know my cost of production. And how do I get
the maximum yield, the maximum efficiencies,
and eventually, how do I control all of
the variables on my farm? If I can’t control
it, how do I adjust it to make it work best for
me and minimize my risk? You can’t discount experience;
it’s still critical. Understanding the
land capabilities and what it can do and can’t
do, based on history and time still plays a critical role. I think what’s changing is
the amount of evidence, data, that can now be collected
and that ability to do a more in-depth
analysis and to look at what has changed on my
farm over the last 10 years, and what am I seeing? Has my soil changed,
has the weather changed, what has been the impact of
the crop rotations that I have? That is all captured now through documentation
through the equipment. Two crops that have seen
dramatic increases in acres would be corn and
soybeans in Manitoba, and that sort of reflects
the nature of farming is that you continue to evolve and whether it’s weather
patterns changing or the market’s changing. Growers, farmers will
continue to adopt, adjust, and look for where can I
get the maximum efficiency out of my land but
also the profitability? 20, 30 years ago, the
focal point of that tractor was the operator. Now on that tractor, the focal point of
that piece of equipment is that monitor, that computer. That computer is running
that piece of equipment now, and so the operator now
is sitting and monitoring the activity of that tractor
instead of driving it. The tractor will
drive itself now. – I’m Brett Sheffield from
Pilot Mound, Manitoba, In our area we mostly
grow wheat and canola. We also grow barley and we’re starting to
grow some soybeans, but basically, we’re
planting and harvesting a grain to sell as a commodity. I’ve grown up on the
farm and always enjoyed being in the country, but
really until I had moved away and realized, kind
of the opportunities and how much I enjoyed
living in Pilot Mound and in the country, I hadn’t realized that that’s
what I’d pursue for a career. I was lucky that my
parents had a small farm when I came back, so I was
able to run their equipment. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it was able to
get the crop in. Good prices and some good
weather turned out well for me, and I’ve been able to
expand constantly each year to now where I’m at the point that I can buy my own equipment. I was excited a few years ago, we got our first tractor
with air conditioning, so that was kind of nice,
and now we’ve moved on to where we’re running
about 3 computer screens right in our cab. I came in when it was
really a year before kind of this
commodity price boom, and I was able to buy my land
at a more affordable price. Since then, in our area alone, it’s jumped about 300 to 350%, so that’s helped my net worth, but as far as buying land goes, right now I can’t afford it, so I’m leaning more
towards renting and going that way to
try to get cash flow early on in my farming career. I guess we’re all risk-takers, ’cause it’s such a
high input, high risk, weather-variable
industry that we’re in. But I guess I’ve just
constantly tried to expand, constantly tried new
things and taken things that I’ve learned at university and just tried to make
those happen on the farm, and it’s really helped me grow. I’ve been able to
grow over 1,000% since I’ve started farming, so it’s worked out
really well so far. The business of farming
now has completely changed. We’ve moved into auto-steer, we’ve moved into
beautiful tractors instead of open-cab
tractors, or even before that a horse and buggy, so
it’s making farming a really attractive
business to get involved in, it’s something that’s
really exciting, it’s something that’s fun to do, and really, we’re moving away from the lifestyle thing
to more of a business. I think that one of the main
trends that we’re seeing is the increase in land prices,
is pushing us to do things to really increase
our productivity on our current land base. Where before we were looking
to expand, expand, expand, and increase our overall
productivity that way, now we’re looking at what we
can do to increase productivity on a per-acre basis, and that’s going to be
able to help maintain our growth of bushels to help
feed the growing population. I’m extremely passionate
about farming. It’s something that I wake
up every day thinking about, it’s something that on my off
time I spend time researching. It’s just such an incredible
industry to be involved in, where we’re involved in every
single part of our business. We’re there for
planting the seed, we’re watching to make
sure that it’s growing, we’re there to harvest it. So in every single
part of the business, we’re able to sit there and
be involved in it and watch something that we’ve done
in the beginning of the year and see how it turns out
in the output in the end. – [Voiceover] Prairie
Mosaic is funded by the Minnesota Arts &
Cultural Heritage Fund with money from the vote
of the people of Minnesota on November 4th, 2008. The North Dakota
Council on the Arts and by the members
of Prairie Public.

3 Comments

  • Reply Trans Canada Phil April 12, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    I like that the PBS station from North Dakota (Prairie Public) treats Manitoba as part of its home market. I just wish the PBS app on AppleTV wasn't geoblocked, forcing Winnipeggers to unblock it.

  • Reply Harvinder Singh February 16, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Good farmer and good harvester

  • Reply Hans-Friedrich Gravekarstens February 19, 2019 at 7:07 am

    👍 👍 👍 👍 👍 Schöne Grüße aus driefel bei zetel in Friesland 🇩🇪 Deutschland 🇩🇪 viel Spaß und Erfolg

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