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Saturday, October 21, 2017
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Survey: 55% of farmers use precision ag tools

A LEI survey shows that 55% is using some sort of Precision Ag tool ...


A survey under 47 representative arable farms shows that 55% is using some sort of precision ag tool:

explanation: 

first row: "Yes, I have tools for machine field guidance (straight driving)"

second row: "Yes, I have tools for automatic section control during spraying"

third row: "Yes, I have tools for variable rate application"

forth row: "NO, I don't have any precision ag tools" (45%)

The results are splitted in farms with Business Management System (red) and without Business Management System (blue).

As more than one answer could apply, farmers that have some sort of precision ag tools are the ones that didn't tick the 4th row, so 55%. This number is not surprising. Other surveys show similar results. It is however still unclear if they own a steering aid or a fully installed RTK automatic guidance system. 

Another outcome of this survey is the positive attitude of farmers towards investments in GPS and section controlled sprayers.


The full report (in Dutch) can be downloaded from the LEI website (click here) The english summary is copied below:



Business management systems in arable farming An inventory of uses and demands


Summary

S.1 Key findings
Arable farmers are satisfied to very satisfied about their business management system (BMS). They primarily use their BMS for registering crop data in order to give these to external parties in connection with food safety requirements. The study shows that use of a BMS is common. Growers' reasons for not us- ing a BMS include that they find it too complicated and expensive or they do not have a computer. Growers who do use a BMS primarily use it for recording data and exchanging data with their buyers. BMSs are used to only a limited degree for analysing or improving internal business operations or for exchanging data with external instruments. Those who use a BMS are also satisfied about the exchange of data be- tween their BMS and external parties. Growers are faithful to their BMS, and they rarely switch to another brand of BMS. Nearly all respondents without a BMS do register crop data, although they do not use a computer for this, despite the fact that approximately half of these re- spondents do own a computer.
It appears that there is a specific demand for methods and tools which con- tribute to product quality. In order to achieve this, more support is necessary in terms of steering cultivation than in terms of registration after the fact. Respondents are very satisfied with current software and technology which can be used to improve business operations. It appears that BMSs are used to improve internal business operations, but the idea of registering crop data for purposes of comparing them with other growers (benchmark measurements) is not seen in and of itself as a reason to register crop data. The demands/wishes in terms of the functionalities which BMSs should offer also focus on the ability to improve internal business operations on the basis of self-registered data.

S.2 Complementary findings
The respondents have a positive attitude towards investing in tools for precision farming: the acquisition of various GPS tools, for instance, is seen as a good investment. But before making investments in this, the respondents want to see precision farming and the related tools becoming easier and simpler to use (plug and play). Data exchange between the tools on the field and computer software (BMSs) needs to be simpler as well.
The growers who were surveyed the most, and particularly growers without BMSs, are not trendsetters when it comes to modern methods of communica- tion (smartphones, tablets, etc.); they consider their current equipment (pc, tel- ephone, etc.) to be sufficient.

S.3 Methodology
The cooperatives involved in the PETA project focusing on the use of electronic data in arable farming, which include CZAV, Agrifirm Plant, Suikerunie and Neda- to, wish to gain insight into the reasons why growers make relatively little use of the existing registration and business management systems and the concomi- tant opportunities for exchanging information with groups such as the PETA project. The study explored the following key issues: 

1. Take an inventory of the current situation on the farm as regards business operations, crop registration, and use of BMS. 

2. Determine the respondent's current situation, what s/he wants to work towards, and how s/he plans to achieve that.

The inventory was taken on the basis of a survey carried out among farmers participating in the Farm Accountancy Data Network. The group of businesses consisted of arable farmers who either do or do not use BMS and who have a business relationship with at least two of the cooperatives participating in the PETA project. The surveys were carried out by LEI's Technical Administrative Assistants and the results were processed and collated in a report.


Full Reference:

Bedrijfsmanagementsystemen in de akkerbouw; Een inventarisatie van gebruik en wensen Janssens, S.R.M., J.W. Kruize, J. van Dijk en R. Robbemond LEI-rapport 2013-033
ISBN/EAN: 978-90-8615-636-8 73 p., fig., tab., bijl.

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UNIFARM is carried out in the context of the Galileo FP7 R&D programme supervised by the GSA (Nr. 287206)