Factors determining the adoption or non-adoption of precision agriculture by producers across the cotton belt
Lavergne, Christopher Bernard
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The purpose of this study was to determine factors influencing cotton producer adoption of Precision Agriculture in the cotton belt according to members of the American Cotton Producers of the National Cotton Council. The National Research Council??s Board on Agriculture defines Precision Agriculture (PA) as ??a management strategy that uses information technologies to bring data from multiple sources to bear on decisions associated with crop production.?? For the purpose of this study, Precision Agriculture technologies included yield monitors, global positioning units, variable rate applicators, and similar components. Many studies have found that adoption of Precision Agriculture can be profitable for agricultural producers. However, the fact that Precision Agriculture is relatively new and unproven hinders rapid adoption by agricultural producers. According to the National Research Council Board of Agriculture widespread adoption relies on economic gains outweighing the costs of the technology. This study attempted to find the factors associated with adoption of these technologies in the cotton belt. The sample population consisted of cotton producer representatives from the leading cotton-producing states. A Delphi approach was utilized to establish a consensus of cotton producer perceptions of the advantages of adopting Precision Agriculture technologies. Advantages included more accurate farming (i.e., row spacing, reduced overlap, and cultivation). Barriers to adoption were also documented, questioning employee capability to operate equipment, learning curve, technology complexity, and uncertain return on investment.