Hands-on experience with latest farm technology
Students in the Agribusiness/Science and Technology program at Blackhawk Technical College are getting firsthand experience with some of the most advanced farming technology in the Midwest.
Fran and Sandy Donny have donated their land, rented by Jim and Therese Gratz, on County DR next to East Side Farm Equipment Sales for students to use some of the newest technology to plant 100 acres.
“It gives the students an inside look at all this new technology that’s available today,” Jim said. “I’m 70 years old. I grew up without any of this and I haven’t been in a corn planter for over 20 years. This technology is deep stuff.”
Almost two years ago, the program received a general purpose revenue grant totaling $340,000 from the Wisconsin Technical College System, which allowed them to purchase a John Deere tractor. Agribusiness and Farm Management Instructor Dustin Williams said he had students remove a lot of the original parts from the planter and put precision planting products on it.
BTC also had a partnership with the company AgriGold, which provided the seeds for the crops.
Williams said the planter has dual-hybrid technology, which allows farmers to plant two different hybrids, or seeds, at once. It’s GPS driven and has an auto-steer feature, and can even decrease or increase the amount of population on the fly. This allowed students to create a design in the crop of the AgriGold logo and the BTC logo that can be seen from above. Students can also check the crops by using a drone.
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