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Technology adoption

The survey says... Editor Kurt Lawton takes a look at the results from the Farm Progress/Informa survey that takes a look at technology adoption.

In our annual fall survey with readers, funded by our parent company Farm Progress/Informa, we continue to track precision farming technology adoption. It helps us create targeted content and continue to improve our popular Ag Data Conference in late November.

With continued thin margins on corn and soybeans, we all know efficiency is critical. To that end, these statistics from more than 1,100 farmers offer proof that there’s room for improvement:

  •        44% of respondents use field mapping (62% if farm 1,000-1,999 acres; 63% if under age 45)
  •        54% use yield monitor data (79% if farm 1,000-1,999 acres; 86% if farm 2,000 acres and up; 68% if under age 45)
  •        40% use variable-rate fertilization (52% if farm 1,000-1,999 acres; 65% if farm 2,000 acres and up; 48% if under age 45)
  •        50% use GPS guidance (74% if farm 1,000-1,999 acres; 92% if farm 2,000 acres and up; 63% if under age 45)
  •        50% use grid soil sampling (68% if farm 1,000-1,999 acres; 52% if under age 45)
  •        23% use variable-rate planting (31% if farm 1,000-1,999 acres; 55% if farm 2,000 acres and up; 36% if under age 45)
  •       44% conduct field experiments (50% if farm 1,000-1,999 acres; 59% if farm 2,000 acres and up; 55% if under age 45)
  •        39% sidedress nitrogen (46% if farm 1,000 acres and up; 48% if under age 45)

As you can clearly see, the average numbers vary somewhat based on age and farm size – with larger farmers and younger farmers doing more with technology to increase efficiency.

There are encouraging signs. When asked “which technologies/practices will you begin to use in the next two years,” we got these responses:

  • 5% will add variable-rate planting; 15% nitrogen monitoring service; 12% variable-rate fertilization; 11% satellite imagery; 10% grid soil sampling; 10% variable chemical application; 9% yield monitor data; 8% field mapping.

We also asked farmers (both technology users and non-users) to rate potential barriers to adoption and/or efficient use of precision ag technologies/practices. Technology users rated the following in order as significant or extreme barriers (non-users in parenthesis):

  • 30% Do not operate sufficient acreage to spread out fixed costs (67% of non-users)
  • 21% Do not see sufficient benefits to justify the cost or time (47%)
  • 15% Lack knowledge or access to expertise needed to make link between collected data and management decisions (29%)
  • 13% Do not trust the security of collected data (25%)
  • 12% Not familiar how to operate technology (24%)
  • 10% of respondents do not have adequate internet access (17%)
  • 9% Do not feel comfortable with the technologies (22%)

What is your barrier to increasing efficiency in every field? Perhaps it’s worth pondering during your cab time this spring. And don’t hesitate to call on your best local resources that can offer help.

I sincerely thank you for reading, for viewing more valuable content on, for subscribing to our newsletters, and for being willing to Think Different.


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