Study: wide-adoption of precision ag increases environmental, economic benefits


Study: wide-adoption of precision ag increases environmental, economic benefits

A new study helps quantify existing environmental and economic benefits of precision agriculture and potential benefits as technology and adoption advances.

Curt Blades, senior vice president of agriculture with the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, says the study found that increases in yields and input savings can be reached if the technology is more widely adopted.

“There are some significant societal gains that come about with wide-spread adoption,” he says. “The biggest driver of that is increase in productivity.”

Productivity increased four percent and has the potential to increase six percent, according to the study by AEM, American Soybean Association, CropLife America, and National Corn Growers Association.

He tells Brownfield the study also found several environmental benefits including fertilizer reduction, pesticide reduction, and water savings.  

“We’re seeing about 40 million pounds of herbicides and pesticides that have been reduced while still effectively controlling the pests,” he says. “And that’s good for the environment. Any time we can take active ingredients out of the water supply, that’s a good thing.”  

Blades says it will be critical to overcome barriers to increase adoption of the technology.

“Another barrier to entry is there is an investment involved. As other areas of our economy are looking to be incented to adopt new technologies that have less of an environmental footprint, we think there’s room in that same discussion for farmers to have incentives to adopt new technologies in their farming operations.”

Other barriers, he says, include access to broadband, farm income, and consumer communication about technology on the farm.

Audio: Curt Blades, AEM