ChatGPT May Be Able To Teach An Old Farmer New Tricks  

You can put ChatGPT to work for you around the farm to identify challenges, come up with new ideas, visualize layouts and more!

by Shelly Wutke
PHOTO: Shelly Wutke

We’ve all heard of artificial intelligence by now, but not everyone has used it. Part of the reason for that could be due to the learning curve when trying to apply AI like ChatGPT to real life. Take your hobby farm for example—did you know you can use ChatGPT to save time when planting vegetables, do research on a new crop or animal you’d like to add to your farm, find out what pest is harming your plants, or come up with ideas to make your crops thrive?

Most AI is simple to use, and you only need a few prompts to come up with ideas that could save you a lot of time. Experienced farmers may already know some of the information ChatGPT will provide. But one question can lead to another and before you know it, you’ll have learned something new. Here are a few ways you can use ChatGPT to manage your hobby farm.

Research New Farming Ideas

Have you ever thought about branching out into hydroponics or wondered whether four season container farming could work on your hobby farm? Most of us don’t have a lot of time during the day to investigate new ideas we may have for our farms. But with ChatGPT all you need to do is ask a few questions.

If you’re interested in aquaculture for example, you may want to ask ChatGPT, “What type of fish are best for aquaculture?” or “What type of aeration is best for a pond with trout?” It will share data you can then put to use on your own farm.

Get Ideas on What Will Sell & Where It Will Sell Best

If part of your hobby farm plan is to sell crops or livestock, you may want to know which livestock is popular right now or what type of crops will yield you the most money while taking up less space.

You can ask ChatGPT to analyze a specific market so you can find out what’s hot and what’s not, or do research on crop pricing. You can also find out what is popular on farms in the rest of the world and get ideas for importing or exporting.

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Predict the Weather

ChatGPT isn’t like a search engine, so it can’t tell you the weather right this minute. But it can compile historical weather information you can use to make decisions on your hobby farm. For example, if you’re wondering when the best time is to plant tomatoes, you may ask ChatGPT, “What is a planting schedule for tomatoes in Zone 7?” or “What weather conditions could I expect if I plant tomatoes outside in April when I live in Zone 7?”

Both questions will give you answers you can use to set a schedule on your farm. I asked ChatGPT both questions and was told that planting outside in Zone 7 in April was risky due to frost. It said I should plan to cover my tomatoes at night, so I followed up with a question on what the best tomato covers are. ChatGPT mentioned floating row covers and water walls.

A short trip to Amazon later and my order of floating row covers was on its way to my farm.

ChatGPT Helps Manage Your Hobby Farm

The key thing to know about using ChatGPT right now is that there are two versions. ChatGPT 3.5 is a free version with a database from 2021. Chat GPT 4 is a paid version that uses Microsoft Bing to do research.

It also includes tools like Dall-E, an AI drawing tool that can draw whatever you imagine. You can ask it to design a layout for your hobby farm with a garden, greenhouse, barn, crops and a place to park your tractor. A few minutes later and you could be looking at a hobby farm design that will amaze you.

ChatGPT may not be perfect, but it’s easy to use, runs on your phone or computer, and can help you come up with fun new ideas you can use on your hobby farm today.

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