Why Digital Ag Tech Might Be Out of Reach for Some Farmers

Josephine J. Romero


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Benefits from American Fruit Grower’s once-a-year State of the Industry survey on the use of precision, or digital agriculture, expose a genuine dichotomy, as smaller growers most regularly say they absence the overall economy of scale needed to undertake the technologies. But greater growers — and even some of the smaller sized kinds — fundamentally say the opposite. They say they have to carry out electronic agriculture to bring down expenses.

The study incorporates the subsequent query, between a several other people, on the topic: “What are impediments to employing precision agriculture equipment on your farm?”

Among the lesser growers, numerous responses were being along the lines of this normal estimate:

“Small farm and just can’t manage substantial-end instruments.”

Besides expense, which scaled-down growers cite repeatedly, one more problem they come upon is they really do not have the staff members geared up for electronic agriculture.

“Unfortunately, we did not have any one ready to use technologies on our farm,” a person grower claims.

In an additional comment, growers generally cite that “price is also prohibitive for our modest procedure. We really don’t make more than enough selling to the packing residence to be capable to order know-how.”

Conserving TIME = Dollars

But much larger growers consistently say they wanted to put into action the engineering to preserve water, labor, and time, which all provide to generate down expenses. A lot of of these growers offer you simple terse answers to the observe-up query, “What was the driver to carry out any or all of these systems?”

There is a wide array of responses, from “time savings” to “increase generation.” Even though quite a few do exclusively cite their base lines. “Increase yields and lower costs,” was usual, as was this two-phrase reaction: “save revenue.”

Nonetheless, 1 grower offers a certain instance of how he will save time, which of class amounts to saving cash.

“Lay out an orchard with a transit lay out one with GPS,” he says. “One can take days, specifically on rolling hills, yet another takes just one human being and can be finished in several hours, even in in the vicinity of darkness. I’ve carried out each. Guess which system I use now?”

Portion of the dichotomy that frequently exists amongst lesser growers and their much larger counterparts is in how they determine the term “precision agriculture.” (Even though, as described, it is not strictly about dimension, as a lot of lesser growers have productively executed the technologies, and some much larger growers have not.)

For case in point, most growers have clever telephones today, so they can choose edge of apps that are obtainable at little or no price. A very good illustration is this grower, who notes: “I use the no cost elements of FarmLogs. The crucial word staying ‘free.’”

2022 State of the Fruit and Nut Industry results on precision agriculture tool use


In addition, there are growers who continue to be suspicious of the new engineering, such as this grower, who cites a complaint that applied to be much far more widespread, but absolutely however exists.

“Who told the machine what to do? Is the selection procedure published into this code superior than me? And if they want me to debug the method and instruct the machine every thing I know so some tech [salesperson] can resell my know-how without the need of paying for it. No thanks,” he concludes.

A significant percentage of growers — approximately one in 5 — say they are open up to the engineering, but for numerous explanations, have not performed so.

“We would employ more,” a person suggests. “However, some technologies are not nonetheless all set for ‘prime time.’ We are, nevertheless, tests some new systems on our farm.”

But it usually comes down to income, and even all those who are relaxed with the know-how say price continues to be the greatest impediment to additional implementing digital agriculture.

“We will carry on to use precision ag tools as we can afford them,” 1 concludes. “Rome was not designed in a person day.”



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