Precision Farming Catching On

A new research study says a growing number of western Canadian grain producers are adopting precision farming methods.
Blacksheep Strategy, a branding and research firm, interviewed 300 prairie farmers this summer. All participants had at least 2000 cropped acres and discussed the precision farming practises on their farm, as well as their future plans.
Precision farming covers a wide spectrum of technology including GPS based manual guidance systems, automatic boom control devices, geo-referenced soil sampling and various field mapping systems.
"It is really quite striking in terms of how many farmers really want to adopt this," said Joanna Karman, one of the study's lead researchers. "There is a wave underway and some of these things could be highly mainstream within five years."
The study concluded that the farmer's age and education are not factors in the adoption of new technology.
"Certainly, the farmers who are larger are further down the adoption curve, but when it came down it, how old you are really didn't have a lot to do with whether you were interested in bringing this on to your operation or not," said Karman.
Most growers are looking at precision farming techniques to reduce operating costs. A smaller percentage are interested in time efficiency and convenience.
The survey asked "Why are you interested in precision farming?" (More than one response was allowed)
* 41 per cent selected save money, reduce costs, reduce inputs.
*16 per cent said profitability--make more money.
*14 per cent want better efficiency, productivity and time savings.
*12 per cent were interested in accuracy--reducing overlap and having straight rows.
*11 per cent liked new technology.
*10 per cent selected improved yields and better crops
*9 per cent stated ease, convenience and reducing fatigue.
*2 per cent selected environmental reasons.
Growers were asked to list the precision farming technique that adds the most value to their operation. Autosteer lead the way, followed by variable rate technology and automatic boom control devices.


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