Eight of 10 Adopters Say Precision Agriculture Pays

More than eight out of ten soybean, corn, wheat and cotton growers who use precision technology on their farming operation say that this factor has increased their profitability, according to preliminary research findings from an effort conducted by dmrkynetec, formerly Doane Marketing Research, Inc., in partnership with the newly inaugurated PrecisionAg Institute.

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The research, compiled from hundreds of grower interviews during the past three months, is designed to create a comprehensive benchmark of precision technology adoption among row crop growers in the United States.

Additional preliminary findings also indicate the following:

  • Of those surveyed who indicated enhanced profitability, the mean savings per acre across different cropping systems including corn, soybeans, wheat and cotton, ranged from $5.29 per acre to $9.44 per acre.
  • Growers who use more precision agriculture technology — in particular, those using global positioning systems (GPS), electronic controller-driven application (ECD) and yield monitors — generally reported greater profitability.
  • In the first known-national survey of farmers who have not yet adopted precision agriculture technology, survey respondents overwhelmingly cited start-up costs as their principle barrier to using the technology. A distant second was that the technology was “too complex.”

“The research is providing insight into the real economic and technological opportunities and challenges related to precision technology products and methods,” said Paul Schrimpf, PrecisionAg Institute Manager and Group Editor of CropLife Media Group.

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“Our hope was to test theories, challenge conventional thought, and get to the bottom of issues that have been puzzling the market for years,” he added. “We’re excited about the preliminary results and look forward to future discoveries we will uncover in the weeks ahead.”

The research is now entering its final phase, which will feature focus groups designed to ground-truth key findings, as well as unearth more of the psychological barriers to precision adoption. The final results of the research will be released at the InfoAg Conference, July 10-12, 2007, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield, IL.

“This research is providing great information that will help us provide more tools that will help growers harness this new technology for their benefit,” said K. Elliott Nowels, vice president of Meister Media Worldwide, which houses the PrecisionAg Institute. Once results from corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat are analyzed, Nowels said, research is planned for precision agriculture adopters and non-adopters in fruit, vegetables and citrus markets.

“It’s our intention to help make precision agriculture technology easier to understand and more profitable for all growers who choose to use it, no matter the crop they wish to raise.”