Guidance and RTK a Hit with Ohio Farmers

Laura McNamaraEquipment, GPS, Software

opf.pngMore than half of all commercial farmers in Ohio are using precision technology in their operations. A survey from Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics surveyed 2,500 farmers with sales of $50,000 or more last year. Agricultural economist Marv Batte says the survey shows that 55 percent of commercial farmers have adopted at lease one piece of precision agriculture equipment as of 2007.

Guidance systems, like real-time kinetic (RTK) auto steer, continue to be one of the top precision agriculture components of choice for Ohio farmers, and the most rapidly adopted precision equipment, according to an Ohio State University agricultural economics survey.

Precision guidance systems and yield monitors were the most frequently adopted precision farming equipment, with about 32 percent of all commercial farmers adopting them to date.

Precision guidance systems have been adopted by farmers most readily over the past eight years. Since 1999, adoption rates have jumped 27 percent. Adoption rates of yield monitors increased 15 percent since 1999.

“Precision guidance systems are popular because they are easy to use, are getting more inexpensive, improve efficiency, save time and labor, and can be used for a variety of field work,” said Batte, who also holds an appointment with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. “With precision guidance equipment, the potential savings are numerous and immediate.”

Other precision agriculture components being rapidly adopted by Ohio farmers include georeferenced grid soil sampling; satellite GPS receiver; boundary mapping; variable rate application of lime, phosphorus and potassium; and aerial or satellite field photography.

Batte says the least adopted precision equipment is variable rate applicaiton of pesticides and micronutrients. He adds that the technology with the most potential is variable rate seeding, the adoption rate of which has increased nearly 5 percent since 1999.
According to the survey, the least adopted precision agriculture equipment is variable rate application of pesticides and micronutrients.

Click here to find more results from the survey.