What new technologies are your fellow farmers planning to invest in over the next five years?
That was one question the Association of Equipment Manufacturers sought to answer through a survey on the current adoption rates of agricultural technology, delivered with the assistance of Farm Journal Media. Responses were collected at the beginning of 2020 from the top 12 midwestern row crop states with farmers that farmed 2,000 acres or more.
“For us, it was important to know the technologies that farmers plan to adopt so that our member companies can better serve their customers,” Anita Sennett, Senior Director for Agriculture at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers said.
Sennett says many of the technologies manufacturers have developed are now standard on equipment. And just like with computers or cell phones, farmers only use some of those technologies available to them, with many of them never being used.
“By learning what technologies farmers actually use today and plan to use in the future, our member companies can better tailor their technologies and equipment to meet their customers’ needs. Perhaps more importantly, the data also provided insights on why technologies aren’t being adopted. This gives our member companies an opportunity to address some of those areas,” Sennett said.
The top eight technologies participants planned to adopt in the next five years, based on survey feedback, included:
Remote grain sensing
Automatic equipment diagnosis
Remote-operated grain dryer
Artificial intelligence spot spraying
Automatic equipment performance reports
Remote weather sensing
Remote file transfer
“While precision ag technologies top the list, there is an increased appreciation for the benefits of machine data – advanced automatic warning of maintenance issues to save on down time, tracking equipment use and performance in order to find efficiencies and optimize productivity,” Sennett said. “Note that, overall, farmers view the cost of new technologies as a limiting factor, and that is understandable if the yield-boosting and cost-saving benefits aren’t clear.”
Respondents rated their top five reasons for adopting new technologies as:
However, producers are limited by the expense of some technology and their lack of comfort with the products, along with lack of support in their area.
“I think that one very telling takeaway was that, when asked what needs technology could solve, the majority of farmers responded, ‘I don’t know.’ That speaks to a huge opportunity for our member companies to make farmers more aware of the benefits of the technologies available to them — from increasing yield to saving on inputs and labor,” Sennett said. “The data also revealed a need for companies to better educate farmers on how to use those technologies, and to offer local support. Identifying these opportunities to increase adoption is definitely a key takeaway.”