Precision adoption slow?

Editor Kurt Lawton takes a look at the adoption of certain technologies into our farming operations.

As I write this, in the dog days of summer (late-August), it’s usually a time when I ponder winter story ideas, work on finalizing speakers for our upcoming Ag Data Conference  and dig into other big picture stuff before heading to our Farm Progress Show.

One topic that piques my curiosity is technology adoption. On the surface it seems slow, especially when I review our 2016 survey that produced data like this:

·         64% of farmers use field mapping

·         63% collect/use yield monitor data.

·         57% use variable-rate fertilization

·         55% use GPS guidance (autosteer)

·         55% grid soil sample.

·         34% conduct field experiments

·         31% use variable-rate planting

·         28% use satellite/aerial imagery

·         27% sidedress nitrogen

·         6% use soil electrical conductivity mapping

No offense intended by any of this, because I know some of these technologies are not inexpensive, they command more time, some demand new management systems or technology infrastructure, there are data requirements, and the value proposition isn’t always clear.

Given all that, plus a challenging farm economy, makes me think some of these adoption percentages are not slow. Perhaps more like cautious?

Forging ahead, we will continue to showcase farmers who find technology adoption and data usage valuable to their farm operation.

For example, numerous stories this month highlight farmer use of remote imaging, soil sampling for better zone building and a Data Decisions column on the power of enhanced research blocks to boost revenue.

Along with these features in print and online at, we’re building a great second annual Ag Data Conference. This event brings together farmer, university and industry speakers with extensive background and experience in the growing agricultural data sector, all focused to deliver on our theme: “Practical data and technology for profitable decisions.” They understand that building a successful data and technology strategy for the farm, both short and long term, are paramount to sustain a farm business.

I sincerely thank you for reading, for viewing more valuable content on, for subscribing to our newsletters, and for being willing to Think Different.

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