Farmers are turning to the same technology that drivers use to get from point A to point B.
For , Joel Newhard, a farmer in Coplay, Lehigh Co., bringing in the autumn harvest means turning to the sky.
"Right now, we are tracking 20 different satellites. Some are American; some are Russian," said Newhard, who uses GPS technology to farm his 300 fields, covering more than 2,500 acres.
"Creating maps based on the yield," said Newhard, describing how GPS technology translates into farming.
A color coded map tells Newhard where the best yields are. The more green on the screen, the better the better the crop is.
The satellite's receiver is fixed to the top of a farm machine. Just like a car, the satellite's signal tells Newhard his location, within a 6-inch accuracy.
"Also using to steer the machine, grabbing a hold of these lines and drive back and forth. So, we're utilizing the machine to its fullest capabilities," Newhard said.
In the winter, Newhard will analyze all the data. That will tell him what areas yield a good crop, what areas don't and what areas needed fertilizing.
"With the increased costs of seeds and fuel, and all our other inputs, have to manage those to be a productive business," said Newhard.
By cutting fuel, seed, and fertilizer costs, Newhard said the technology saves him up to $10,000 a year, but he also said it takes two to three years to recoup the initial costs.
"We really see a lot of savings and benefits, so we will stick with it. It's the wave of the future," Newhard ended with.