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Research

Precision Agriculture Adoption

Abstract

Widespread farmer adoption of a technology is one of the best indicators that the innovation provides value for money. Conversely, technology adoption lags often indicate that farmers are not finding the innovation beneficial. Patterns of adoption can help researchers, entrepreneurs and agribusiness diagnose adoption constraints. No country systematically collects data on PA. Surveys are sporadic, their methodology differs widely and they are published in a variety of languages, making it difficult to obtain an overall impression of the current status of PA technology. The general objective of this project is to track precision agriculture (PA) adoption worldwide. Specific objectives are to: 1) gather PA adoption statistics, 2) assess the reliability of the data collection methodologies, 3) communicate PA adoption statistics with assessment of reliability and interpretation worldwide in English.

Description

WIdespread farmer adoption of a technology is one of the best indicators that an innovation provides value for money. Conversely, technology adoption lags often indicate that farmers are not finding the innovation profitable and practical. Patterns of adoption can help researchers, entrepreneurs and agribusiness diagnose adoption constraints. No country systematically collects data on precision agriculture (PA) adoption. Surveys of farmers use of PA technology are sporadic. Methodology used in those surveys varies widely and they are published in a variety of languages. This makes it difficult to develop an overall perspective on the status of PA adoption. The general objective of this project is to track PA adoption worldwide. Specific objectives are to: 1) gather PA adoption statistics, 2) asses the reliability of the data collection methodologies used, and 3) communicate PA adoption statistics with assessment of reliability and interpretation worldwide in English. Results are communited in refereed journal articles, media posting and working papers.

Documents

Click the file name to download the project file:

  • Farm Types and Precision Agriculture Adoption: Crops, Regions, Soil Variability and Farm Size - In the United States average adoption rates have increased for precision agriculture (PA) technologies used to produce many field crops. PA makes use of information collected on the farm to target site-specific, intensive management of farm production. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) allows close examination of regional patterns of adoption, and how crop types and region interact with differences in farm sizes and soil productivity variability to influence adoption rates. The most common PA technologies are guidance systems that use global positioning systems (GPS) to steer tractors and other farm equipment. Remote sensing, soil mapping, and yield mapping all use GPS to geolocate data and create maps used to guide farm management decision. Variable rate input-application technologies (VRT) make use of remote images, soil tests, yields maps and other sources of information to apply different, more precise levels of inputs in farmer’s fields. GPS guided VRT fertilization was introduced in the early 1990s and increased slowly over the last three decades. The ARMS data for winter wheat (2017), corn (2016) and soybeans (2012) showed use of VRT seeding and pesticide applications growing rapidly. The data indicated that PA technology was being used on farms across all sizes and all regions, with adoption occurring more rapidly on larger farms. VRT use on soybean farms was highest in areas of higher soil variability.
  • Worldwide adoption and profitability of precision agriculture: Implications for Brazil - Precision agriculture (PA) technology has been on the market for almost 15 years. Global Positioning Systems (GPS), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), yield monitors, variable rate technologies (VRT) and other spatial management technologies are being used by farmers worldwide, but questions remain about the profitability of the technology and its future. This paper summarizes: 1) data on worldwide adoption of PA technology,2) review of PA economics studies and 3) implications for Brazil. Worldwide adoption estimates are based on reports by an international network of collaborators. The PA profitability summary goes beyond previous reviews by including a large number of publications from the last three years, a more detailed breakdown of results by technology type and new technologies. For Brazil, low land prices, low wage rates, focus on commodity crops, and the high cost of imported technology would tend to discourage PA adoption, especially for the classic PA technologies like VRT. The large scale of many Brazilian farms may favor adoption of GPS guidance and use of PA to automate record keeping, employee supervision and quality control. PA adoption may grow rapidly in areas with higher value crops, such as citrus and sugar cane, states with higher land values and regions with a strong agricultural research base. Strong public sector agricultural research organizations will help Brazil develop site-specific PA uses, but the shortage of farm and field level economics in those public sector research organizations may inhibit PA adoption decisions.

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