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Source: Univ of Illinois news release

To view the complete report, click here.

Recent farmdoc daily (March 18, 2021, March 12, 2021, March 5, 2021) articles discussed the importance of new technologies to crop agriculture, and the value and role of information in the adoption of these technologies. In this article, we continue this theme by discussing the adoption of precision agriculture technologies. Upcoming articles will discuss the potential payoffs from the adoption of precision agriculture technologies, automation and robotics, and knowledge gaps on farms.

Current Status and Availability of Precision Agriculture Technology
A 2019 survey of agricultural retailers provides a useful perspective of the current state of precision farming technology adoption (Erickson and Lowenberg-DeBoer, 2020).

This survey was initiated in 1997, so it provides a historical perspective of the development over time of precision farming technology adoption as well as some evidence of future challenges and opportunities. A total of 165 dealers responded to the 2019 survey.

Table 1 summarizes the dealer offerings of precision services in selected years. The information in the last column represents projections for 2022. Entries designated with N/A indicate that this information was not available in a given survey year, or that projections were not available for a particular service. In many cases for 1997 and 2008 a designation of N/A means that the service was not available because the technology was still being developed.

The availability of service offerings increased dramatically from 2008 to 2019. Services that were offered by more than two-thirds of the dealers in 2019 included field mapping with GIS, GPS enabled sprayer boom, GPS guidance with auto control, grid or zone soil sampling, satellite and aerial imagery, VRT fertilizer application, and VRT lime application. Interestingly, cost/profit mapping, guidance and autosteer sales and support, and UAV or drone imagery went from not being offered or surveyed in 2008 to 38% in 2019, and are projected to increase significantly by 2022.

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