Precision Ag Survey and Manufacturer Views
Adoption of precision agriculture technology has been moving ahead at a steady pace but not equally as fast for production of all crops or in all regions of the country. An AgProfessional survey of agricultural retailers indicates there is potential for much faster adoption of precision technology, but precision ag technology manufacturers apparently are happy with the pace of adoption and see nothing but expansion that will keep manufacturers busy and profitable in the foreseeable future.
“The thing we are looking forward to is more and more people using some sort of precision ag equipment,” said Mike Gomes, director of agricultural marketing and business development for Topcon Precision Agriculture. “The question to farmers in the past was do you use GPS, and then it became are you using autosteer, and now the question is, are you using variable rate and what operations are you doing variably.”
AgProfessional did an e-mail research study with a primary audience of ag retailers to take a snapshot of where adoption of precision ag technology stands today with ag retailers and their farmer customers. The research also asked for projections on adoption in the next five years.
There have been constant guesses and claims of various degrees of adoption by both ag retailers and farmers, and the AgProfessional survey doesn’t provide a definitive answer. Survey results seem to indicate there is much more potential growth, but manufacturers report already rapid adoption.
There are a couple reasons farmers and ag retailer/custom applicators will continue to rapidly advance their capabilities in precision, said Erik Ehn, director of product marketing, Trimble Agricultural Division. “More and more farmers are seeing the payoff of the technology. They are seeing the return on the investment,” he said. “The other reason is because manufacturers of equipment are now factory installing precision technology as base technology and providing support.”
Precision manufacturers don’t see the industry maturing in the foreseeable future. There are plenty more potential users that can adopt the technology, and the precision manufacturers have made it a goal to help farmers double their per acre production by 2050 or earlier.
Projecting five years from now, has Mike Olson, North American sales manager for Ag Leader, saying that farmers in general across the United States are adopting pieces of precision ag equipment at different paces—rather than loading their equipment with all the bells and whistles at once.