Almost two thirds of broadacre farmers still read their agricultural news in newspapers, despite the rise in farm sector website choices, including multiple marketplace sites now serving up news-themed offerings.
Yet the digital age has definitely changed farmers' television viewing habits.
These days only 19 per cent of their television screen time is spent on commercial free to air networks, according to a national survey of farmers' business and spending habits, including media consumption trends.
The popularity of podcasts is creeping up, but only about 11pc are listening to agricultural programs if they have an opportunity while in the tractor cab, ute, or out in the paddock.
Slightly more farmers (about 14pc) prefer non-agricultural podcast topics.
The findings are from the Quantitative Agricultural Research Survey - a regular grass roots snapshot monitoring what farm owners and managers have been doing with their time and money since 1997.
The survey of decision makers on more than 800 grain, sheep and cattle properties where annual agricultural output exceeds $40,000 was conducted for ACM Agri by market researcher, McNair YellowSquares.
Respondents declared an average gross on-farm income of about $580,000 in 2021-22 and ran an average of two properties.
Among other recent QARS insights were that broadacre producers spent an average $45,000 on fuel and lubricants last year (about $2.12 billion in total), 67pc owned at least one truck, and 3pc owned an aeroplane.
In Queensland 8pc had aeroplanes and 2pc owned a helicopter.
Nationally, more than 90pc had at least one four wheel drive ute (an average of 2.4 per property), 56pc owned motorbikes and two thirds owned quad bikes (averaging 1.3/farm for both categories).
About 35pc relied on satellite-based internet connections and a quarter used the NBN, with a third of internet users describing their connectivity as good or very good (up 7pc since 2019) and 36pc saying it was adequate (a 10pc drop since 2019).
Aside from using the internet for work, more than a third of farmers' television viewing time relied on internet access to pay television and video streaming services; 7pc was spent watching online catch-up television; 6pc on video on demand, and 13pc on pre-recorded digital TV programs or movies.
Interestingly, however, television and social media rated as farmers' least trusted media platforms.
Meanwhile, despite the past decade's growth in 24-hour news services dedicated to online agricultural coverage, the websites with highest penetration to broadacre farmers focused simply on forecasting and reporting the weather.
Weather coverage, led by the Bureau of Meteorology and Elders Weather websites, enjoyed an 81pc total market reach - well ahead of the 40pc penetration for the dedicated ag news sector, serviced by sites such as Farmonline, ABC Rural, The Land or Australian Dairy Farmer.
Farmers are, however, also increasingly using their internet connectivity to read their favoured state-based agricultural news mastheads online each day, often while also receiving a print subscription each week.
About 60pc of Australia's 47,000 broadacre producers relied on printed products from different publishers, according to the QARS feedback.
It indicated each month 69pc of those producers were reading one of ACM Agri's rural weeklies - The Land, Queensland Country Life, Stock and Land, Stock Journal, or Farm Weekly - in print or online, or both.
The combined print-online penetration was as high as 88pc and 81pc each month for West Australia's Farm Weekly and Queensland Country Life, respectively.
In print alone ACM's agricultural papers had a weekly national reach to 50pc of the market, compared to just 17pc for its rival News Limited publication, The Weekly Times.
QARS found, on average, farmers spending more time - almost an hour - reading their ACM print masthead, over three intervals each week.
"That high level of average engagement is pretty extraordinary considering only 17pc of metropolitan daily newspaper consumers spend an hour reading a newspaper, said ACM Agri agricultural research manager, Karen Rogers.
She also noted a slight rise in the number of people sharing the same issue, now nationally averaging more than two.
Meanwhile, 66pc of online subscribers read website articles or a digital version of their state ACM Agri publication each month, up from 30pc in 2019.
Almost 70pc of all digital subscribers were broadacre farmers and 45pc of farmer subscribers used ag news apps to access what they read.
"The feedback, including a finding that 87pc of readers responded to advertising in ACM Agri websites and papers, suggests a lot of business engagement with these platforms and fewer tyre kickers or general browsers," Ms Rogers said.
Indeed, farmers also gave the ag sector's news publications a robust trust rating of 3.8 out of five, ahead of local newspapers at 3.7; radio at 3.3; government websites at 3; metropolitan news publications at 2.9, and social media at just two.
The Land ranked as Australia's most trusted ag media brand.
ACM Agri commercial director, Craig Chapman, said there was clearly farmer wariness about some media platforms in the market, while pleasingly the national ACM network enjoyed the strongest levels of credibility and reach.
"It takes time to establish trust," he said.
"The QARS results overwhelmingly confirm our credibility position nationally, and our leading ranking as the most effective and efficient media service to broadacre producers."
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