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The digital farm

Photo by Rachelle Klemme Tractor wheels and tires have become taller in recent years.1 / 5
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Wheel rakes have become more efficient and user-friendly.3 / 5
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Farm machinery has become more user-friendly in recent years, keeping pace with the digital revolution and high standards.

"Everything's more computerized. Everything's equipped more with GPS and farm mapping systems," Duane Uselman, manager at Evergreen Equipment in Wadena, said.

In the last 15-20 years, Uselman said, tractor tires have become taller and skinnier for less ground compaction.

Since he was a kid, tractor cabs have become more quiet, more comfortable, equipped with better seats, and again, more user-friendly.

Machinery has generally become more powerful and efficient since about 50 years ago.

"Tractors used two cylinders, and now they're six cylinders," Uselman said.

Evergreen Equipment in Wadena was bought in 1991. Previously, the site was Wadena Implement. Twenty years have brought changes to the industry, Uselman said.

"What they call a Tier 4 on the diesel engines is probably the biggest change, trying to get them more fuel efficient with less emissions," Uselman said.

It has come a long way from the 18th century when oxen and horses were used for power and simple plows were made of wood.

According to the USDA's, a man named John Deere, along with Leonard Andrus, began manufacturing steel plows in 1837.

By the latter half of the 19th century, when Otter Tail and Wadena Counties were established, emerging technology included steam tractors, silos and deep-well drilling.

Between 1910 and 1915, gas-powered tractors were introduced in some areas, and 1918 saw the introduction of small combines.

In 1954, the number of tractors on farms exceeded the number of horses and mules for the first time in United States agricultural history.

In 1994, farmers started using satellite technology.