Machines on the Farm

The prospect of more secure borders, and less immigrant labor, has farmers thinking about turning to technologically-advanced machines to do the hard work out in the fields. Companies are developing robots that would be capable of selecting and picking the right fruits and grapes, even determining ripeness through digital imaging, and tending grapevines, too.

The massive machines from Ramsay Highlander (one of which is pictured at left) might look like something out of Mad Max, but they actually help farmers with the very peaceful business of harvesting spinach, lettuce and various vegetables. The company says its new Spinach/Spring Mix Mechanical Harvester can cut over 15,000 pounds worth of the green stuff per hour. That's a lot of lettuce.—Gregory Mone