Survey: Grower Challenges To Precision Agriculture Adoption

For the 13th consecutive year, the ag retail publication CropLife magazine conducted a survey of its readers regarding the adoption and use of precision agriculture technologies in their businesses and their growers’ operations. Within the survey, a series of questions were posed about key limiting factors in precision agriculture adoption for grower-customers. Here are the key findings of the survey, and how they compare with the same survey conducted in recent years. The information is excerpted from an article written about the survey by Dr. Jay Akridge of Purdue University, and Dr. Linda Whipker, an independent research consultant based in Georgia. (the raw data can be found at the bottom of this article)
 
Dealers were almost evenly split on whether they agreed, disagreed, or were neutral that the cost of precision services to their customers was greater than the benefits they received, and that farm income pressure limits the use of precision services. Some 33% of the dealers agreed that the cost was greater than the benefits and 34% agreed that farm income was a limiting factor.
 
Though these two factors were also the top two customer barriers in 2004, the impact seems to have decreased dramatically. At that time, 72% of the dealers responding to the survey said that farm income limits the use of precision technologies, and 53% said that the grower costs were greater than the benefits.
 
Compared to farm income and costs vs. benefits, there was less agreement about the other barriers to growth in precision technology adoption. For approximately one-quarter of the dealers, interpreting data/making decisions was believed to be too time-consuming for customers and they felt customers lack confidence in site-specific recommendations. However, 41% of the responding dealers disagreed with each statement.
 
Over half of the respondents did not believe that soil types limited precision profitability or that local topography limited the profitability and use of precision technologies. But, both soil types and topography seemed to be a problem for 20% of the responding dealerships. The least agreement about barriers was that all customers who benefit from using precision are already using it (61% disagreed, only 18% agreed), suggesting that there are still many growers who could benefit from precision technologies that are not currently using them.
 
Grower Limitations to Precision Ag Adoption:
Do Dealers Agree or Disagree?
 
Customer Issue
Agree
Disagree
Cost of precision services to customers is greater than the benefits
33.7%
32%
Farm incom pressure limits use of precision services
35.4%
34.2%
Interpreting/decisions too time consuming for my customers
40.9%
26.7%
Customers lack confidence in site specific recommendations
41.4%
26.9%
Soil Types in my area limits profitability on precision
54.1%
20%
Topography in my area limits use by farmers
54.9%
22.3%
All customers who could benefit from precision are using it
60.8%
18.4%

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