In a survey of 2,000 row-crop, livestock and specialty-crop farmers, the importance of reliable wireless coverage was a universal concern, reports Progressive Farmer. The United Soybean Board, which sponsored the survey, said that 60 percent of respondents reported that their internet connectivity was insufficient for their business needs.
“When farmers can’t maximize the functionality of their equipment, particularly in the middle of the field, it has repercussions beyond the farm,” stated Tim Venverloh, USB vice president of sustainable strategy.
“More and more of the future is about data and data transfer. The timely dissemination and use of data is becoming more important in a precision ag and decision ag world.” The majority of farmers who responded said they wanted more access to digital data, but often lacked options to obtain it.
More than 90 percent of survey participants said they used smartphones to access data, though many reported sketchy connections and few alternatives. Some 78 percent of respondents said they had no choice in service providers. Some farmers were able to use fixed internet connections, while others said they relied on satellite service to connect, according to Progressive Farmer.
Farmers said they wanted the additional data to make better decisions (37 percent), improve efficiency (19 percent), and cut costs (10 percent). “Farmers continually look for ways to improve efficiencies while protecting natural resources,” said Venverloh.
“Upwards of 50 percent of the farmers we surveyed want to incorporate more technology into their operations, but they are held back by limited connectivity. Improving their access to broadband needs to be a priority,” he said.
October 14, 2019