Precision Agriculture Survey: What’s Next?

With the recession in the general economy causing fallout in the agricultural industry, there’s a question about what comes next for precision technology and services. Two areas explored further in the 14th Annual Precision Agriculture Survey were which emerging precision technologies would have the most impact on agricultural dealers’ businesses and what current barriers prevent further growth and expansion of precision agriculture. Investments made in a technology during a period of tight financial times may be a strong indicator of how integral that technology has become to a business. Based on survey responses this year, precision technology has certainly become an integral part of many crop input dealerships’ businesses.

When asked which technologies would have the most impact on their businesses in the future, the most common technologies mentioned by survey respondents were improvements in the overall use of GPS (especially with controller-driven application) and improvements in guidance systems (autosteer). Several respondents specifically mentioned RTK (real-time kinematic) satellite navigation and how the improved accuracy would be of real benefit to the effectiveness of precision technology. Some of the comments included:

“I feel VRT (variable-rate technology) will have the most effect. EPA regulations eventually will mandate nutrient runoff control in the Great Lakes watershed, especially now with a green-friendly administration in Washington, DC.” (OH)

Mapping Updates

Improvements and changes in mapping technologies were mentioned by several respondents. Several respondents mentioned the importance of having more accurate digitized maps and maps being compatible across different technologies. Comments included:

“Field mapping needs to be set up so when I go into a field all I have to do is turn the switch on and go, then be able to print it out. I don’t have time to calibrate, download, and correlate information from computer to GPS systems.” (PA)

“Digitized soil types mapping.” (IL)

Another closely related area was using yield data and integrating it with other data for better analysis. Developing fertilizer application recommendations based on yield replacement was seen to be the next step:

“Increase in VRT fertilizer utilizing customers’ GPS maps from the combine to replace nutrients removed from previous years.” (IL)

“Precision planting is the next big thing in our area. Also started with electrical conductivity (EC) mapping — got some guy going to try it and overlay their grids to that.” (IA)

“Yield data and other farm data management services: So many of our customers have the info or the ability to collect the info but lack the time, drive, or understanding of how to manage and utilize various data (yield maps, application records, as-applied, etc.).” (SD)

“[Combining] data from inputs all the way through yield. Data is more important than application. Growers want details on yield results from what is working and what is not.” (IA)

Survey respondents were asked to rate a series of issues as to how significant a barrier they were to the growth and expansion of precision agriculture. This was the same list of barriers that we asked about last year and in 2004 to see what impact the global recession has had on the potential growth of precision technologies. Figures 9, 10, and 11 show the percentage of respondents who agreed with each customer, dealer, and technology issue listed (rated a four or five out of five, where five is “strongly agree”).

The biggest customer issue impacting precision services this year is farm income, with half of the respondents indicating it would be a barrier to the expansion of precision agriculture in their area, compared to only one-third a year ago. The effect of income seemed to be much more limiting than the cost-benefit trade-off which did not change from last year. This suggests that the barrier is grower financial conditions, not a problem with reconciling the cost with expected benefits.

Most of the dealer-specific issues were no more important a barrier this year than they were a year ago, with several issues actually being mentioned by fewer respondents. Pressure on service fees and high equipment costs were both less of an issue in 2009 than in 2008.

One of the biggest drops in concern was the issue of being able to create a precision program that was significantly better than a traditional program — declining from over one-third of the respondents rating it a barrier in 2008 (37%) to only 28% of the respondents in 2009. This is consistent with the other survey results that suggest as fertilizer prices remain relatively high, applying fertilizer material in a more “precise” manner is seen to be more effective.

The only technology issue that was rated more of a problem in 2009 was technology that is incompatible across equipment, with almost half of the respondents reporting it was a barrier to expansion. With several respondents indicating they wanted to integrate grower data such as yield map data with application data and EC data, the lack of compatibility may become more of a barrier until changes in software catch up. The overall cost of precision was less of a barrier than last year or 2004.

Summary

Overall, precision agriculture has become much more accepted as part of a grower’s way of farming as well as in the retail’s business. As money becomes tighter, the need to integrate precision data/information across equipment types more easily and with more accuracy and effectiveness becomes a bigger challenge. Results would suggest that growers and dealers believe that precision technology plays a bigger role when there is financial pressure.

Leave a Reply

Precision Ag Stories

Corn Field
FertilizerBridging Crop Nutrition Science And Technology
September 7, 2016
The future seemed to draw nearer for the 1,600-plus attendees of the co-located InfoAg and International Precision Agriculture conferences in St. Read More
Deere R4023 cab
Precision AgPrecision Ag Aids Fertilizer Programs
September 6, 2016
Whatever the farm economy may look like, retailers need to continue to develop a sound fertility program to reach the Read More
EquipmentCase IH Debuts Nutri-Tiller 955 Strip-Till Applicator
August 24, 2016
With strip-till continuing to expand across new acres, Case IH designed the new Nutri-Tiller 955 strip-till applicator to help producers Read More
EquipmentCase Launches Aim Command FLEX, 25th Anniversary Patriot Sprayer
August 24, 2016
Case IH announces new AIM Command FLEX advanced spray technology for greater application accuracy, as well as special 25th Anniversary Read More
Trending Articles
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
Osage Co-op Elevator Osage, IA Finished Building
OpinionAre We Crazy?
September 8, 2016
At some point in the first few months of my employment here at CropLife® magazine, I started getting curious about Read More
ManagementMAGIE 2016 Highlights and Deere Anti-Trust
September 1, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj discusses the recent Midwest AG Industries Exposition and the Department of Justice’s objection to John Deere Read More
ASMARK 2016 Retailers Live! Tour - CPS
CropLife 100CPS Acquires Texas Retail Operation
August 23, 2016
Crop Production Services (CPS) has acquired the assets of Larry’s Chemical and Spray, Inc., for an undisclosed amount in an Read More
Key Cooperative Marcus Construction Steel Building
Retail FacilitiesMarcus Construction Builds High-Speed Agronomy Center For Key Cooperative
July 7, 2016
Key Cooperative in Grinnell, IA, wanted a state-of-the-art Agronomy Center to better serve its customers. Marcus Construction delivered exactly that. Read More
Latest News
Syngenta Seedcare Institute
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Opens New North America Seedcare Institute In …
September 23, 2016
Syngenta unveiled its new Seedcare Institute in Stanton, MN, during a recent grand opening celebration. More than 150 industry leaders, Read More
StewardshipMonsanto Invests $1.6 Million In System To Quantify Gre…
September 23, 2016
The USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) recently awarded the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) and its Soil Health Read More
Pipe rack
LegislationCourt Sides With Ag Retailers On PSM
September 23, 2016
The D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled the Occupational Safety and Health Administration violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act when Read More
ManagementPacific Coast Fertilizer Announces Interest In Longview…
September 22, 2016
Pacific Coast Fertilizer LP (PCF) announced at the Cowlitz Economic Development Council board of directors meeting its interest in developing Read More
Young corn plants in soil
UncategorizedCool Planet Raises Additional $9 Million To Commerciali…
September 22, 2016
Cool Planet has announced the first close of a new financing round to commercialize the company’s Cool Terra Engineered Biocarbon Read More
Crop InputsJim Loar Promoted To President And CEO Of Cool Planet
September 22, 2016
In a move that reflects and reinforces the company’s commitment to the agricultural market, the Cool Planet board of directors Read More
BlendersNorth Dakota Coop Debuts Dry Fertilizer Plant
September 22, 2016
North Central Grain Cooperative has begun operations at a new dry fertilizer plant at its Rolla, ND, site. It is Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto, Bayer Officials Defend Proposed $66 Billion M…
September 21, 2016
Top officials for Monsanto and Bayer defended their proposed $66 billion merger before skeptical senators on Tuesday, insisting that the Read More
ManagementUpcoming Shows & Recent Events
September 19, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about upcoming trade shows and events and review the Mid America CropLife Association Read More
Industry NewsVerdesian Life Sciences Appoints New CEO
September 19, 2016
Verdesian Life Sciences, a plant health and nutrition company, today announced that its board of directors has named Kenneth M. Avery Read More
Corn
Crop InputsEPA Settles With Syngenta For Alleged Multi-Regional Pe…
September 19, 2016
The U.S. EPA has announced a multi-region settlement with Syngenta Crop Protection, LLC (Syngenta) in Greensboro, NC, for alleged violations of Read More
ManagementMerger Mania
September 16, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss this week’s mega-ag mergers of Bayer and Monsanto and Potash and Agrium. Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMonsanto Ends Up Being A Bargain For Bayer
September 16, 2016
History will say Bayer got a bargain in its $66 billion purchase of Monsanto, writes David Nicklaus, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Read More
Greg Musson, Gar Tootelian
CropLife 100California Ag Retailer Steps Up To Feed Families Affect…
September 16, 2016
GAR Tootelian, Inc. (GAR) in Reedley, CA, is challenging the Central Valley to help raise enough money and provide 525,000 meals Read More
Crop InputsBayer, Monsanto CEOs Discuss Merger
September 15, 2016
Werner Baumann, Bayer CEO, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto CEO, discuss why they decided to merge their companies. Read More
Corn close up
Crop InputsNY Times: Bayer-Monsanto a Bad Deal for Farmers
September 15, 2016
Via NY Times: Don Halcomb, a 63-year-old farmer in Adairville, KY, is expecting his profit to vanish this year, largely Read More
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Merger Creates New Global Ag Giant
September 14, 2016
During the whole of 2016, many of the companies that do business in the agricultural industry have concluded the best Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More