Sensors, satellite imaging, farm management software are words most farming professionals are familiar with by now. Along with other technologies for farms, they make up what is referred to as AgTech – which many say is one of the most important inventions in agriculture in the past 50 years.

But what kind of impact is obtained and felt with its use? What do farmers think about it? A new study gives us some answers to these questions.

A group of investigators from the University of Lethbridge, in Canada, surveyed farmers from South Alberta. And what they found out paints an overwhelmingly positive portrait of AgTech adoption.

Watch the video: How this farm improved irrigation with technology

AgTech adoption: what results?

The study reached the following conclusions:

  • 81% of the farmers had adopted some form of precision agriculture;
  • Yearly crop yields had increased an average of 20% and yearly crop quality had increased an average of 16%;
  • Yearly reductions in irrigation water, fertilizer, herbicides, and pesticides had ranged from 14% to 24%;
  • AgTech is being applied largely to specialty crops;
  • 85% of adopters said that AgTech affected their overall farm management approach;
  • 89% of adopters are highly satisfied with the technology;
  • 92% of adopters plan to adopt additional precision agriculture technologies in the future.

The top technologies used by those surveyed were GPS, automated driving, tools for crop monitoring, farm management software, weather monitoring, and satellite.

Reducing energy costs, increasing crop yields, improving machine efficiency, increasing crop quality and reducing the amount of irrigation water were the main motivations behind AgTech adoption.

The study also concluded (without surprise, the researchers point out) that AgTech is mostly used in irrigated land (92%) versus non-irrigated land (8%).

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Photo: Getty Images