Small farms slow to take up technology
THE uptake of technology by Australian farmers has been described as “limited and modest” by Rabobank agricultural analyst Wesley Lefroy.
And small-scale beef, sheep and dairy producers are dragging the chain, with the lowest rate of uptake of any group of surveyed farmers, a new study by the bank has found.
Rabobank presented a report on new technologies at Sheepvention, which drew on information provided by 1000 of their farming clients.
However, the reasons for the slow uptake were varied, and in many cases may be because technology and software are not meeting farmers’ needs.
Mr Lefroy’s study found of those farmers using the technologies, only a limited proportion was using the data to help make decisions to lift their business profitability.
Only 23 per cent of farmers surveyed used sensor technology such as drones, moisture probes, irrigation monitors or yield mapping.
Mr Lefroy said there were “clearly barriers to adoption holding back the farm sector from receiving the value promised by digital agriculture”.
“The value proposition (or return on investment) for many sensor technologies simply isn’t articulated clearly enough for farmers to determine they can generate a profit from it,” he said.
Farms with incomes above $1 million a year had the highest rate of uptake, 57 per cent. Just 10 per cent of businesses with incomes below $300,000 had adopted the technology.