It’s surprising, how many classic cars I see on the road each weekend.
It seems like everyone wants to turn the clock back once in a while — provided they can flip forward again when the motor drops a con-rod, or the clutch burns out.
Yesterday had its great moments, and the old A35 allows me to remember them.
We all occasionally ask ourselves what would have happened if we had allowed time to stand still.
If the Austin was the only mode of transport in the Donovan household, and had been for the past 45 years, how much would she have cost in repairs, how many breakdowns, how many opportunities would have been lost? Probably not all that many.
Apply the same logic to farming, and the answer is quite different.
A farm stuck in 1967 would be unmanageable today.
The dairy, health and safety, and animal welfare inspectors and others wouldn’t know where to turn.
Some jobs, like loading a lorry with bags of wheat weighing 114kg (two-and-a-quarter hundredweight) would be physically impossible for nearly everyone.
The same applies if the timescale is reduced, say, to farming 25 years ago, and also when it’s halved again, to just 12 years.
Then, we were at the cusp of the mobile phone era, which today is developing so fast.
Farmers who have decided to invest the relatively small amount of money necessary to keep up to date have a hugely powerful machine which, through the myriad of apps which have been developed by clever practical people all over the world, can help the farmer make reasoned and calculated decisions, and record a mass of farm data.
Here are a few apps which I see as unbelievably useful, and I would like readers to tell me of others which they have found or perhaps used, or maybe developed themselves.
"Farm manager" is a app developed by Australian farmer Gareth Mizzeni, who wanted an easy way to record a full history for chemical and fertiliser use in each field, and keep track of livestock and machinery maintenance.
Users say it’s a great tool that allows records to be kept on the spot (see www.mizzenifarmservices.com.au).
"Let Farm" allows farm contractors create an invoice as soon as the job is complete, the programme calculating the time or acreage worked, and the quantity of product applied.
Drivers don’t forget to register the work they do, and with the recording done on the spot, there’s no reliance on the driver’s memory.
The app has been developed by two young Danish farmers, and works on Android phones (www.letfarm.dk).
A company in Co Kerry has developed apps to track and provide alerts in management of the dairy herd and of individual cows (Pro Dairy), and other apps to help you make key decisions in grazing and cattle breeding (see www.smartfarmapps.com).
The iCropTrak map-based visualisation allows you to keep track of any farm-related variable.
You have the ability to track crop quality, estimated yield, pests, diseases, farm labour and material and equipment use.
It integrates GIS (geographic information system) technology so you may tap your location on a map and enter data accordingly (iCropTrak by ScanControl).
The TankMix app provides details of the correct chemical-to-water ratio for a specific tank size, and also will calculate the chemical required for a specific field size!
Developed by Dupont, TankMix not only can help co-ordinate crop management, but can help keep your supply inventory under control as well.
The Agriculture Price Alert app can beam up-to-date information directly to your phone, sending a push notification to tell you when the market price on certain crops changes, helping to determine when the sales windows occurs.