TECHNOLOGY has helped evolve the grains industry over the past decade, but the results of a survey suggest both farmers and agronomists have more homework to do in regards to tech solutions.
Robert Woods, director of design solutions with KG2 Research, said his company’s survey on technology solutions in cropping systems found both farmers and agronomists were not confident in their own understanding of the various technology solutions on offer.
“Agronomists rated their own understanding of the opportunities technology offers producers at an average of 6.9 out of 10, which is not that high when you consider their role and the importance of technology in driving cropping productivity gains,” Mr Woods said.
He added only 37 per cent of agronomists rated their knowledge as 8 out of 10 or better.
And farmers rated their own level of understanding even lower, at an average of 6.6 out of 10 with 36pc giving a rating of 8 or more.
The agronomy sector thinks even that figure is too high – rating growers’ understanding at just 5.3 with only 26pc giving a rating of at least 8 out of 10.
Mr Woods said survey responses were relatively even across various demographics, although he added larger farmers were more likely to be confident about their understanding of modern tech.
Interestingly, younger farmers were only marginally more likely to say they understood technology very well than their older counterparts.
Mr Woods said another key finding of the survey was that farmers and agronomists had very different ideas on what was the most useful application for technology.
“Farmers rated GPS-guided machinery as the most useful technology solution at a whopping rate of 67pc, which is not surprising, given it is the most commonly adapted tech solution at present.
“However, in the agronomy sector, GPS was only rated as the top solution by 29pc,” he said.
“It was still the most popular response, but concepts such as computer-operated variable rate systems for input application rated much higher than among farmers at 18pc.”
He said for farmers, the second most popular technology solution was yield mapping, with 9pc of respondents.
Mr Woods said the survey also looked at information provision.
Agronomists rated highly as a source of information, while the rural media was an important tool for producers, along with knowledge shared by other farmers and field days.
“Farmers obviously rated agronomists highly, but interestingly agronomists themselves said fellow agronomists were among their main sources of information.