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Do not fold then staple or mutilate this card. The slogan of the computer a University of Illinois radio service presents a series of programs about you and the computer from banks to hospitals and from airlines to music. It's application in this team and these programs will give you a glimpse of these countless applications and what they mean to you. Do not fold adds a new tool to the farmer's hollow tractor and silo. The pace of modern agriculture demands the application of electronic data processing. Today's program will give some indication of the effects of these computer applications upon America's farmers and consumers. The daily business of the farmer ranges from cattle in corn to check books and mortgages complicated equipment and shifting labor forces make this a
confused business. Now computers are helping to organize these many elements for the farmer. At last he is able to see where the money has been spent and how it balances with income. GARY D Bearden director of the Washington data processing center for the United States Department of Agriculture explains why this new tool is of vital importance. And the farmers are going to have to begin to. Really manage it resources. Many farmers today don't even keep records saying what their income and expenses are they have a general feel for it. But many farmers today can't tell you how much it really cost them to produce a bale of cotton or found we. Or brains are. And court decisions as to which crop to grow or not to grow. But. One of the first areas of the former have to do is to begin to really in detail I do cost accounting what the industry's call cost
accounting for years which is to identify cost back to those sectors which produce the cost. And then the computer I think will enable him to do this because most farmers don't like paperwork. You know they're out managing their activities and working in their favor. So by establishing on a centralized basis a service bureau type operation either of cooperative or commercial venture. The data would be sent in say weekly or monthly to the service bureau and weekly or monthly reports can be returned to the farmer indicating its cost by what I would call cost centers labor costs so much that labor is distributed across these crops and it's so much of the labor cost goes to the cost of producing wheat and so much of the cost of producing grains are. So there when he begins to analyze the profitability of any one. Sector of his operation he can begin to look at it when he has back type data. Then he can begin to plan as to which different cropping practices.
Our best for his operation with this reduced paperwork the farmer can make more imaginative plans for the future of his business. Careful analysis of income and expenditures may create a new budget or even a new type of crop. Dr. Beulah Land for the federal extension service of the USDA explains this impact upon farm management. We use computers to furnish analysis to farmers and other information which might serve as a guide or an aid to the individual manager in making his farm plans are in making decisions for future courses of action. Now this kind of analysis that is obtained through the use of computers is obtained by feeding some information about the farmers businesses what it's like what how much land capital and so forth. And to a mathematical model and then the computer in its high speed capacity to make mathematical computations is utilized to get
solutions with this from this mathematical model which fed into the computer. Now this tends to be Course best suited for big and complex problems which the farmer may be facing. And it is a type of budgeting referring back to your question. But this type of a more sophisticated budgeting is not a substitute for the usual or the long time used budgeting that we've done in farm management. Some of the budgeting techniques. That we have used in farm management particularly the partial budget will probably always be one of the most valuable tools that a farm and you can use. To it. What do the expanded capabilities of the computer mean to the small farmer. It seems
that bigger farms are making more profit from computer applications. Dr. John Scott associate professor of agricultural economics at the University of Illinois in Urbana offers his opinion about computers on different sized farms large farms were probably in the short run at least profit more from data processing because they have these facilities more available to them. Some farmers are already large enough where they have their own computer facilities. However these are not very many at the present time there are some farms in California for example that do have their own feed programs on a computer. There are some farms in Florida which do likewise with respect to milk production particularly. As far as the smaller farmers are concerned the development
of computer centers is likely to help them more because they will never be able to afford to have their own computer so to speak. But I think yours such as centers will develop and with the communication of these farms with the computer center it will help these farms also. For example there's one commercial company in the state now that's planning a small program for its relatively small farms and they're going to answer or try to answer and initially at least some very specific questions like how much fertilizer should I put on my corn next year or how much insecticide or how much herbicide should do it should I put on and what kind should I put on it and when should I put it on. He's kind of fairly simple questions can be
programmed. To be answered by the computer with a fairly minimum amount of information. Computers may also affect agricultural business firms. This in turn may create a new operating base for farmers as well. John Scott observes that most business firms are using electronic data processing to process their process their regular financial work payrolls and so forth. But some business firms are using larger decision models also an allocation of resources. For example the oil companies which supply farmers with oil products use what is called a transportation model. To obtain the least cost way of getting their resource from the oil well processed and to the retail outlet for us. For the farmer
so that their costs are reduced and of course with competition between oil firms the reduction of costs within a firm is going to be passed along in part at least to the farmer. Then also most big companies use what is called a least cost program for each of the feeds that say formulate. That is they have a large number of feeding gradients and they must meet certain requirements with regard to protein levels and mineral levels and actually different amino acid levels particularly for hogs. And in order to do this in the least cost way to meet these requirements they have a program which with changes in price of different ingredients will change their level of ingredients they used to get this to meet these
requirements on feed. Why. Computers may also be used to attack specific problems of farmers. Research in countless areas of agriculture has been aided because of the rapid calculations made possible by computer. One of the most important concepts in this research is linear programming programs or sets of instructions for the computer are fashioned in a linear mode. That is a change at one point affects all points after that. Each piece of data is arranged into a long line and treat it as part of a linear structure. One traditional area in which linear programming is helped agriculture is the problem of feed blending. For each animal on American firearms there is a certain mix of grains and additives that forms the best feed blend for that animal. Certain elements of this blend may be more economical as well and maybe easier to locate in large supplies
from season to season these factors change and it becomes a constant challenge to choose the best feed mix with the aid of computers. These elements could be considered rapidly and a nutritious and expensive feed blend can be determined by trial and error analysis of such problems would be back breaking. Now farmers such as Tim John runner of Redlands California may determine a feed mix to fatten cattle by running time on a nearby computer. Let me your programming may also be used to solve the problem of the hog farmer Dr. Beulah Land for of the federal extension service explains. Let's take the example of a farmer who might be trying to decide whether to shift to a new hog production system right. He might use a computer to supply him what we call a linear programming analysis to compute. An optimum argue zation and his farm enterprise in which he would be able to compare this new system hog production
with say his own system. Are he might include in this computation and several other. Systems to halt production just to see how they would work out. Well the linear programming now says will. Give him an optimum organization in terms of which combination of enterprises will give it and make him the most money. Now you can use linear programming for a lot of variations here. The farmer could go on and compare how this would compare with the income from some other combination enterprise that he might decide to have a look at. A more abundant supply of high quality milk and other dairy products may also be due to electronic data processing. The better milk producers are charted in a special genealogy table of dairy farmers with impressive results. Gary De
Baron director of the Washington data processing center of the USDA outlines this project. One program which has determined has had tremendous influence particularly on the dairy industry has been the dairy herding proven. Testing Program. In which the production records. Of. Most of the cows dairy cattle in the United States have been introduced into the system. And their records have been kept on. The one nation records of the county as well as the many ology if you will. Who their parents were in this particular room in case of Sarge fires because with artificial insemination one vote cannot produce many more offspring in the past. Unless we keep records of the production of his offspring. We may not be perpetuating high producers. And I don't recall the exact figures but in the past 15 or 20 years we've increased average milk production 15 times over what it was. Simply
by population genetics. In other words mass records on the actual production so that we can eliminate those most producers from the population as well as any offspring they may have already. So that we're beginning to selectively improve the total population of not producing an animal rather than as was usually in the past trying to find a high producer. And breed those characteristics from that high producer to other animals. Farmers who raise crops find better production potential in seed developed from careful research. The growth rate and disease resistance of a particular plant can be determined and traits can be developed in a genetic pattern.
S.G. Carmer of the associate professor of biochemistry at the University of Illinois in her Bana outlines such applications of computers in his field. Well in agronomy we use the computer on a wide variety of projects. These vary all the way from use in Variety trials where we might be testing different current hybrids or different alfalfa varieties or different wheat varieties. Projects range from this type of project to a much more basic type of research. For example one project involves the planned analysis of corn leaf tissue where research workers are going out in the fields around the state collecting corn leaf samples and the samples are brought back to the ground meat department and analyzed for the content of about 13 or 14 different elements in the corn leaf and then the computer is used to try to find an equation relating the
final corn yield to the content of these elements in the plant leaves. This is more or less a basic research type project. We don't know what results to expect yet. And work will continue on this for quite a while. Another interesting project also of the basic nature involves measurements in the micro environment surrounding a soybean canopy the canopy being the leaf umbrella put out by the soybean plants. And our soil physicists are quite interested in that as they are hooking up numerous thermocouples in the canopy measuring such things as the light intensity the temperature when movement at various heights in the canopy. But certainly this kind of experimentation was done before. Why are computer is such a necessary part of this research. Dr Carmer offers these opinions. I think basically the savings is in terms of time in agronomy in
particular where a good deal of the experimentation is done out in the field this requires somewhat of a seasonal cycle. Plants or crops being planted in the spring and harvested in the fall. This means that the research worker has just the fall and winter months in which to analyze this data and interpret the results and plan the next experiment. Now if you do does this all manually. He's hard put to do a very thorough analysis hard but to even analyze a small part of his data before the time comes that he has to go out in the field and plant again. Now with the computer we can get the data very shortly after harvest get the data punched on cards run it through the computer and get our analyses printed out in a matter of days or maybe a week or two at the most and that's the research man has a much longer period now in which to interpret his results study them and make decisions as well
as to what type of experiments he's going to plant the next year. Other organizations are concerned about the quality of today's crops. The Illinois foundation seeds incorporated a nonprofit production and research organization with offices near Champagne Illinois is investigating hybrid testing programs. Dale Cochran assistant director of research explains what is involved in such a complex program. The 1968 testing program. We have 22 different locations. This involves about 91 different field tests. All of this ninety one fifty nine Tests are located at Champagne and thirty two. Tests at other locations in other states and other states. We have locations in Illinois Iowa Indiana Wisconsin Ohio Missouri and Kentucky. Each of these tests will have 17 the 64 entries
replicated three times. This gives us the total number of entries of about twenty seven hundred in champagne and thirteen hundred at other locations. There are about 4000 total entries replicated three times which gives us about 12000 plots. Also involved are 24 100 different pedigrees being tested in 68. On each of the hybrids that is tested the following characteristics will be measured year in percent moisture percent rate lodging percent stock lodging percent drop beers and percent stand with a testing program of this size. It is necessary to obtain accurate information rapidly. This is the reason that we have decided to use data processing to make the necessary calculations. It would take one or two people probably one year or so. With a computer we can get our data in a
few hours. The main point that we would like to stress here is that the amount of time and then repetitive with which we have to obtain this data is very important. From a standpoint of labor and also from the standpoint of our sales program this testing information has to be calculated and published so that we can present this to our customers in the winter by January 1st usually. Mr. Cochran continued with some remarks about the need for such a program handled by data processing methods. He emphasized the speed of calculations for a master file. The computer is making it possible for us to develop better hybrids faster because the labor involved in calculating this vast amount of data. Would make it impossible for us to do this by hand.
Now if we by the way with the help of the computer we can screen many more hybrids. Therefore being able to pick out the best a lot faster. You know when I foundation seeds also uses computer facilities to prepare a list for sweet corn seed mailings Clarion Henderson director of research and production outlines the system. We have a mailing list of some 18000 people. That have ordered the chief extra sweet past two or three years. And it's necessary to revise this list each year. We had customers that. Order for the first time in the current year and then any of the customers that have. Not ordered in the past two years are automatically dropped. It's quite a job to. Revise this list and keep it up to date. And it is necessary.
So we have a book that is made up each here. And this book has pages of about. 14 by 11 inch pages in the port books would make a pile about. Find a way to inch high stack. It only takes approximately 50 minutes to print out. The 18000 names and addresses in this book. The cards are printed up. Which. Do give the changes and add the new names. And then these are run through the data processing equipment. And then. The. List is made from that. Now at the same time the book is being printed. They make another run. Which
in this run they. Are. In this round they tend to. Or do run the. Address labels which gives a persons name and address. And when it comes time to mail out currently that your price lists and forms for them to reorder. His current list is. Used and the labels that they print are used to. Move to the envelopes and save a lot of extra typing on this. Natural disaster always threatens the farmer carefully planted fields may be washed away by nature's floods or bake in the sun with droughts. Agriculture is especially concerned with conservation
practices which may influence the future of farmers. Branches of the USDA have been involved in the design of watersheds to hold water for best use. With the help of computers models of watersheds have been tested in advance of actual construction. Gary Bearden of the USDA relates how this is done in the terms of the Soil Conservation Service we're now finding that we can actually run simulation studies on watersheds. Looking at alternative methods of designing these watershed to prevent runoff and flood them into and linked with this is an economic model which tells us all right we can design a watershed in this manner at X dollars. But what are the economic impacts on the area. Through the various designs for instance can we reduce the incidence of flood damage. Do we make water supplies available for both agriculture use and for use of the
cities so that we beginning to instead of going out and designing it and saying Now is this the best design we will actually stimulate. So we introduce different levels of rainfall and different levels of runoff from the want to shed into the channel and we see what impact this has on the actual structure that we have designed. We may say that well it's supposed to carry so many cubic feet of water but how many times out of a year would we expect to get a rainfall which would exceed that. And if so what would happen. So this is allowed us to do a better job of designing watershed and channel runoff. In order to economize and at the same time provide a level of protection in conservation necessary. And this is a tremendous impact and of course these types of things were not possible without a computer. Because a person could not set down and simulate a large watershed and we use this through random number
generators that we assign certain parameters that are characteristic of the watershed and we actually through the computer simulate the effects of a sudden downpour our sustained swell rain for five hours on the watershed. And we may also find that we would need to put a different type of vegetation on the slopes. Of course all these efforts to aid the farmer result in better produce for the food markets of the nation and make it possible for cost to remain at a reasonable level. Despite other rising prices Dr. John Scott indicates some other effects of computer applications in agriculture. The average citizen is going to eventually you know and indirectly reap some benefit. Probably in two ways.
One is the cost reduction of a better allocation of resources to produce the products desired by the consumer. And this in turn will eventually be passed on to the consumer in a reduction in price of the things that the consumer buys. And the second. Area where the consumer will probably benefit is that the products that the consumer buys become more home more genius or more alive. That is the quality of a particular product is going to be so be the same every time the producer or the the consumer goes in to buy this product. Not only do cost change with the results of computer applications but the quality of food is assured. The United States Department of Agriculture protects the consumer as he shops in today's markets beef and other products are inspected processing plants are checked regularly.
Gary beard of the USDA says they are collected on a daily basis and each of the processing plants and these then are transmitted to Washington where they are right into the computer and they're processed against the norms in other words that we would expect a certain incidence of disease to occur and a certain percentage condemn carcasses. But if it exceeds these levels that we recognize we possibly have a problem. Also we can use it in terms of tracing meat or any other product made back to its originator or wherever it was created. Do not fall. A new tool for today's farmer means better crops and greater milk production and more financial control. Both consumers and farmers in the fields benefit from computer applications
developed in the last decade. On the next programme in this series wanted criminals and tax returns will be a part of the story of governmental uses of computer each week. The University of Illinois radio service brings you a new meaning behind the slogan of the computer age. Do not fold then staple or mutilate it. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
Do Not Fold
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University of Illinois
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Series Description
"Do Not Fold" is a program about the growing applications of computer technology. Each episode focuses on how different professions and sectors are using computers to explore new possibilities in their line of work. Interviewees discuss how they are incorporating new technology into their work, what these innovations mean for the future of their field, and how they may affect the general public.
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Producer: Johnson, Jiffy
Producing Organization: University of Illinois
Production Designer: Haney, Edna
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-19-7 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:29:50
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Chicago: “Do Not Fold; 7,” 1969-04-25, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed March 3, 2024,
MLA: “Do Not Fold; 7.” 1969-04-25. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. March 3, 2024. <>.
APA: Do Not Fold; 7. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from