Self-driving tractors among technology revolutionizing farming in ENC

Published: Jun. 20, 2018 at 9:49 PM EDT
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Thanks to new advanced technology, the process of farming has gone high-tech in Eastern North Carolina.

With a focus on improved efficiency, farms like Warren Hardy Farms in Lenoir County have exponentially increased the amount of work they are able to complete, thanks to equipment like tractors that drive themselves.

"We've gone basically from mules to computers," Warren Hardy, the third generation farmer who owns and operates Warren Hardy Farms had to say about the technology.

Every year, Warren and his son Justin, along with a small crew tend to more than 3,000 acres of land, planting and harvesting soybeans, corn and wheat that will be used for things like animal feed, flour, and even vodka.

Assisting the Hardy's with all of that land is one self-driving tractor, that through an onboard computer system and an iPad, communicates with satellites and cellphone towers to drive itself.

And while the self-driving tractor is cool in its own right, it's also incredibly reliable, ensuring that the planting of seeds and harvesting of grain is done with precision that would have simply been impossible if done by human hands, with the 30-foot-wide tractors planting with only a two-inch margin of error.

And if for some reason something isn't right while planting, for example, a tractor moving faster​ than expected, Warren Hardy gets a text message sent directly to his phone warning him of the problem, so he can fix it immediately.

All of these smart features come together to offer serious benefits to the farmers through maximizing efficiency, with Warren Hardy adding, "We are more conservative with the chemicals we are applying, it just helps us cut back on that, and it's more environmentally friendly."

Warren Hardy Farms had their self-driving tractor equipment installed through a company located out of Ayden called Snow Tractor and Equipment.