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Study explores farmers’ use of data management software


It’s probably little surprise that Midwest farmers are leading the way when it comes to the adoption and use of data management software. The Heartland needs to stay on the cutting edge of farming technology, and products and services are regularly targeted to that base.

It’s also probably expected to hear that this this type of software is generally used to run large farms and that the growers using it trend younger and are investing for long-term profitability.

But a recent Field Data Management Practices Grower Survey conducted by Stratus Ag Research dug deeper — examining farmer attitudes about
field data management, changes they plan to implement in the next three years, and their attitudes about collecting, aggregating, and analyzing individual farm data.

“For example,” said Krista MacLean, Stratus project manager, “more growers use free software than those who pay for software access, a fact solutions providers or equipment manufacturers may want to consider.”

Other findings include:

  • Whether using free or purchased software, only 30 percent are satisfied with what they are currently using or have used.
  • More than 75 percent of growers capture data, but few do little, if anything with the information.
  • Security concerns about unauthorized access to data remain high.
  • Growers cite analyzing historical data and having all records in one place as the two top reasons for using data management software.
  • Farmers are unfamiliar with the differences in software brands.

Does any of this sound familiar? If so, it’s likely you’re not alone.

“There are many reasons farmers adopt new technology and reasons they don’t,” MacLean said. “Our grower survey sheds light on how growers plan to adopt data management technology and how quickly. The analysis, combined with the candidness of those surveyed, offer insights into opportunities that those who market software solutions to farmers can’t ignore.”

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