As little as 10 years ago AutoSteer for tractors and combines was considered a luxury. Farmer quotes like
Why in the world do we need that?
Why would anyone spend that much money to have a tractor steer itself? I’ve done it for years!!!
…were pretty commonly said whenever the subject of GPS and AutoSteer were brought up at the coffee shop.
Today however is a different story. Today nearly every farmer has some type of GPS system in at least one of his tractors, complete with AutoSteer. Many farmers have a system in every tractor or combine they have and use for nearly every application you can think of.
So where did this all start? Where did the idea for this AutoSteer come from? Who came up with the idea?
I wish I knew….but maybe I do.
While checking out my bud, Tim Homerding’s Facebook page the other day I saw this pic of him plowing
And then this one:
And it dawned on me.
We’ve had AutoSteer all along!
When plowing, the front tire of a tractor is placed into a furrow which was left by the previous pass of the plow. The furrow is commonly just big enough to fit the tractors right side tires into it. Once the tire is in the furrow and the tractor is driving along, the tires generally stay in the furrow area with little correction from the driver.
There ya go, the first (very basic) AutoSteer was born! Ok, so not really but it kinda worked like one.
Although we no longer plow like Tim did in these pics, I have to admit I do miss those days. I miss our older tractors which didn’t have GPS, AutoSteer or a computer screen. However, I would miss my AutoSteer that I have now much much more.