Accelerating adoption of agricultural technology

Dec 12, 2011
In-field technology demonstrations help growers "road-test" new equipment and may speed their adoption of new technologies. Credit: Photo courtesy of Katie Ellis

Research shows that it takes about eight years from the time public research funds are invested in technology development to the time the technology is first implemented. In the agricultural sector it can take as long as 15 years before full adoption by stakeholders occurs. Because many technologies in the agricultural world become obsolete in 15 years, it becomes increasingly important to find ways to move technology more rapidly from research to adoption.

In a study published in HortTechnology, Katie Ellis, Tara Auxt Baugher, and Karen Lewis report on an information technology survey that was designed to better understand concerns and design effective outreach methods for the tree fruit industry. The survey was part of the U.S. Specialty Initiative project titled Comprehensive Automation for Specialty Crops (CASC). "The project aims to accelerate by analyzing its return on investment and identifying and mitigating barriers to adoption", said Ellis, corresponding author of the study. "Low adoption rates are largely the product of skepticism, which can lead to weaknesses in the commercialization process and affect future research and product development."

The authors analyzed survey responses obtained from attendees at tree fruit meetings in the Pacific northwestern and eastern United States. Results showed that many of the misgivings about new automated technologies, such as equipment cost and reliability of harvest assist, , and fully automated harvest machinery, were consistent across the country. The results indicated subtle differences between the eastern U.S. and Pacific northwestern U.S. responses, including justifiable equipment price points and irrigation and pest concerns. "These are likely attributable to regional differences in climate, operation size and scale, and marketing strategies", said the researchers.

Orchard owners and managers identified , labor regulations, labor costs, insurance costs, and market conditions as the most important external influences on their businesses. Water availability/cost and quarantine regulations were least important. These responses have implications for future research and outreach efforts; studies that emphasize economic analyses with evidence of increased returns and workforce productivity will be important.

Another survey finding supported previous research showing that growers place a high value on ''in my backyard'' field trials and are more likely to adopt innovations that are developed or tested locally. Survey responses from tree fruit growers indicated a desire to see technological benefits through on-farm trials, particularly in the eastern United States.

"CASC members designed this project to bridge the gap between developer and end user. The survey data will help the project team better address grower concerns and uncertainty on a regional and national level, thereby improving adoption speed and rates after CASC-developed technologies are rolled out", the authors concluded.

Explore further: Wolf-like animal seen roaming in northern Arizona

More information: The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortTechnology electronic journal web site: horttech.ashspublications.org/… t/abstract/20/6/1043

Provided by American Society for Horticultural Science

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Hybrid string blossom thinner tested in peach orchards

Dec 29, 2010

Peach producers have traditionally relied heavily on hand thinning, a necessary but costly and labor-intensive field practice. Impacted by increasing labor costs and a limited workforce, peach and other stone ...

Scientists hope to create robot strawberry pickers

Oct 19, 2011

Scientists at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL), the UK's Measurement Institute, have developed an imaging technology which can identify the ripeness of strawberries before they are picked. The developers ...

Recommended for you

Is fleet diversity key to sustainable fisheries?

5 hours ago

Concern about fisheries is widespread around the world. Over the past several decades, a robust discussion has taken place concerning how to manage fisheries better to benefit ecosystems and humans. Much of the discussion ...

Strange, fanged deer persists in Afghanistan

6 hours ago

More than 60 years after its last confirmed sighting, a strange deer with vampire-like fangs still persists in the rugged forested slopes of northeast Afghanistan according to a research team led by the Wildlife ...

Captive rhinos exposed to urban rumbles

7 hours ago

The soundtrack to a wild rhinoceros's life is wind passing through the savannah grass, birds chirping, and distant animals moving across the plains. But a rhinoceros in a zoo listens to children screaming, cars passing, and ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.