Innovation down on the farm

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
0512_GamePlan_Stahlbush_04
The biogas plant at Stahlbush Island provides electricity for about 1,100 homes, nearly twice what the farm and plant use yearly. The $10 million project took 14 months to complete. Blueberries are the farm’s biggest seller. 
// Photo by Alexandra Shyshkina
A traditional disc runs at 4.5 mph; the faster 12 mph Amazone Catros Disc will eliminate several passes in the field, which not only saves time and money but is also better for the soil. “Every time you till the soil, you’re basically wrecking the houses where insects live,” Chambers says. “So the more you can reduce that tillage the better.” Common in Europe, the high-speed disc will be one of the first in use on the West Coast, he says. The new weeder, from Garford Farm Machinery in England, yields similar benefits. With the help of a computer-controlled camera, the machine will weed nine rows at a time at high speed and very close accuracy, says Chambers.

Neither piece of equipment comes cheap. The disc is about $58,000 and the weeder about $50,000. High capital costs can deter investment in more efficient technologies and systems, says Chambers, who was the first in Oregon to use a satellite-guided tractor. “But most everything in agriculture you have to take the long view.” As energy costs go up, he says, many new technologies will eventually pay for themselves.

“We are always trying to be more efficient and come up with better ways to preserve quality or make our product better,” says Chambers, describing his pragmatic approach to innovation. Be it a biogas plant or high-tech automated weeder, Chambers says his desire to adopt new technologies arises from “walking around the farm and solving problems. I’ve always been a curious kid.”



 

More Articles

Best Foot Forward

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

Whether you're stepping out to work or onto the track, Pacific Northwest shoe companies have you covered.


Read more...

5 stats about Oregon fireworks

The Latest
Thursday, June 18, 2015
fireworksthumb001BY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Fireworks are a booming industry, even if the pyrotechnics have turned July 4th into a day fire marshals, and many residents, love to hate.


Read more...

Storyteller in Chief: Natural Prophets

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY SAM BLACKMAN

Storyteller-in-chief with the CEO and co-founder of Elemental Technologies.


Read more...

Reader Input: Energy Overload

June 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

We asked readers to weigh in on the fossil fuel-green energy equation.


Read more...

Reader Input: Road Work

March 2015
Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Oregon's roads are crumbling, and revenues from state and local gas taxes are not sufficient to pay for improvements. We asked readers if the private sector should help fund transportation maintenance and repairs. Research partner CFM Strategic Communications conducted the poll of 366 readers in February.

0315 input01 620px

 

Reader comments:

"I feel private enterprises are capable of operating at a higher efficiency than state government."

"This has been used in Oregon since the mid-1800s. It is not a new financing method. This form of financing may help Oregon close its infrastructure deficit by leveraging funds."


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

House of Clarity

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

Holding a Power Lunch at Veritable Quandary in downtown Portland.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS