There is never a moment without something to be done on a farm, no matter what type of farming you do. It is definitely a lifestyle choice that doesn’t fit everyone, but once farming is in your blood, it will keep calling for generations. However, that doesn’t mean that the way we farm today is the way that our ancestors did. Even the Amish farmers who take pains to stay on a traditional path of farming developed beyond using a stick to plow rows for planting.

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Although some developments may be more controversial, some are quite simply perfect, and make everyone’s life just that little bit easier. From John Deer’s steel plow in 1837, John Froelich’s original tractor in 1892, through to completely computerized modern hydration systems that can monitor soil to ensure the perfect amount of moisture, or Bump N Drive gates, farming continues to develop new technology and improve on old systems. There are a lot of inventions that you didn’t know you needed until you started using them (like the good old sliced bread).

Although not all inventions are as revolutionary as the cotton gin, the tractor or barbed wire fences, some are simply here to make life just that little bit nicer. They don’t take the hard work out of farming, but they do make some of the more irritating jobs better, or they increase safety, or they enhance communication, or they improve feeding, or almost anything else you can think of.

Mechanical Gates

Fencing and gates are part of farming; even purely agricultural farms have fences to try and keep at least some of the wild creatures from decimating crops. Once you go from a lifestyle block to a farm with more than a few hectares of land, you quickly get a bit tired of jumping in and out of the truck every time you need to get through a gate. So, one of the most awesome inventions was the Bump N Drive gate.

These started as a spring-loaded gate which a truck could push open with a bumper bar, and the gate would close behind them. Of course, a clever bull leaning up against one could also open it, but that is just part of the excitement of being a farmer, discovering bulls in a paddock where you weren’t expected to see a bull.

The more modern version of these gates are mechanical and you can buy kits to install on your current gates which will convert them to easy open – no more having to get out of your truck to make sure that the gate has closed properly behind you. Non-farmers might think of it as a needless luxury, but anyone who has lost an entire field of almost ready to harvest crop because a single gate was accidentally left open knows the value of a gate that automatically closes.

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Solar Fence Chargers

Electric fences are fantastic if you are running free range livestock, if you want to keep wild animals away from your spring lambs, or if you are wanting a moveable paddock. However, they can be difficult to set up if you want something a distance from the main house.

This is where solar power fences are brilliant. You do not need to run a main power line out into the middle of nowhere, just set up a solar based fencing system. You will usually need more than one solar power panel if you want to ensure that your fencing system doesn’t fail. If you live in a storm prone area, you will also want to make sure that you have protected your solar panels. Hail covers at the least can save you a lot of problems.

Tire Changer

A relatively simple thing that can make such an amazing different when you’re on the farm. Sure, you can carry a few spare tires around, but being able to fix a wheel yourself makes life much easier. Even more so if you live several hours away from the nearest mechanic. Yes, you can rip a tire off using a crowbar and a bit of finesse, but a tire changer makes it easier – and honestly, farming has enough things to worry about without having to stress about a flat tire!

A Cell Phone Repeater

Mobile telecommunications are a fantastic aid to farming. From being able to call back to the farmhouse to get supplies sent up when you’re working on a back paddock, to being able to check in on an incoming weather front. Unfortunately for large stations and farms cellphone reception is often not as good as you really want it, with dead zones always appearing in the most annoying places.

This is another problem that can be easily solved by installing a cellphone booster or repeater. This is also something that you might be able to talk to your neighbors and have a relay of repeaters set up so that everyone has mobile access everywhere on their land.

Water Harvesters

These are devices that pull the water from the air, or at the very least gather any water that falls from the sky. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainwater_harvesting Water storage isn’t exactly new technology, however the developments that have occurred in the last few years have taken water harvesting from praying for rains to fill up a reservoir, to actively pulling any moister from the air and storing it in a water tank with less evaporation issues.

The use of water harvesting is obvious if you are in a drought fraught area, but if you are simply on a large ranch or station, particularly if you are carrying livestock, they can be set up easily out of the back of farmland and ensure that your livestock always has a water source.

The price of these has come down, but there are also a range of options and instructions for creating your own out of differing materials. There are even options for quite low cost solar powered water purification systems, which might be perfect when you’re out driving cattle.