Economic Information Bulletin No. (EIB-80) 31 pp

August 2011

On the Doorstep of the Information Age: Recent Adoption of Precision Agriculture

The adoption of precision agriculture, which encompasses a suite of farm-level information technologies, can improve the efficiency of input use and reduce environmental harm from the overapplication of inputs such as fertilizers and pesticides. Still, the adoption of precision agricultural technologies and practices has been less rapid than envisioned a decade ago. Using Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) data collected over the past 10 years, this report examines trends in the adoption of four key information technologies-yield monitors, variable-rate application technologies, guidance systems, and GPS maps-in the production of major field crops. While yield monitoring is now used on over 40 percent of U.S. grain crop acres, very few producers have adopted GPS maps or variable-rate input application technologies.

Keywords: Information technology, precision agriculture, variable-rate technology, yield monitors, Global Positioning System (GPS) mapping, auto-steering, conservation technology

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