When you think of farming, traditional tools like tractors and combines come to mind. But, does a computer?
It's the brains behind a massive state of the art apple dumper, grading, and sorting machine at MacQueen Orchards in Holland."I can program that on my iPad and do it at home if I wanted to," explains Jeff MacQueen, president of MacQueen Orchards.
Owners at the orchard purchased the machine from a New Zealand company last August, but it's not their only high-tech device.
"Our tractors, our sprayers, everything, our sprayers are all computerized now to where I can put 25 gallons to the acre, up to 125 gallons. Whatever the label reads, whatever it calls for, we can do now. And if there's a tree missing, the nozzle automatically shuts off," explains MacQueen.
It all sounds impressive, but what's in it for consumers? MacQueen says the device guarantees a specific, higher quality apple."A lot of times, the stores will say, ' I want an 80% red delicious apple, so we used to have to do that by eyesight. Now, we punch it in the computer, tell the computer what we want, 80% colored apple, and it will shoot it out."
MacQueen says before that 80% colored apple comes out; a camera inside this box takes 8 different photos and tells the computer if it's 80%.
MacQueen says since the machine was installed, production has tripled.