Precision Agriculture Improves Environmental Stewardship while increasing yields, Study Says
Association of Equipment Manufacturers Releases Environmental Benefits of Precision Agriculture Study and Supports Adoption of New Technologies
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), along with support of the Canadian Canola Growers Association, Canadian Seed Trade Association, Farm Credit Canada, and Grain Farmers of Ontario released a study today quantifying how widely available precision ag technology used in agriculture improves environmental stewardship while providing economic return for farmers.
Precision agriculture uses technologies to enhance sustainability through the more efficient use of critical inputs, such as land, water, fuel, fertilizer, and pesticides. Essentially, farmers who use precision agriculture tools use less to grow more.
The study was completed to highlight how policies and other technology-enabling priorities can help farmers increase these outcomes.
“We’re living in a new age of agriculture, and today’s precision technology on equipment can have an enormous positive impact on farmers and the environment,” said Curt Blades, Senior Vice President of Agriculture at the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. “One of our goals at AEM is to encourage the adoption of these technologies to more farmers, so they can all reap the benefits as we continue to focus on sustainability.”
“Canola farmers have a long history of embracing and adopting technologies and innovations into their farm operations,” said Dave Carey, Vice President of Government & Industry Relations at Canadian Canola Growers Association. “Technology and equipment play a key role in helping farmers to be more precise in their farm operations, providing both economic and environmental benefits.”
The study explored five key environmental benefits achieved through precision agriculture technology adoption, including:
- Yield benefit through increased efficiency
- Fertilizer utilization by more precise placement
- Pesticide usage by more accurate application
- Fuel savings due to less overlap and better monitoring
- Water savings through more accurate sensing of needs
“Sustainability is a focal point for Grain Farmers of Ontario farmer-members who strive for economic, social and environmental sustainability," said Paul Hoekstra, Vice President of Strategic Development for the Grain Farmers of Ontario. “Precision agriculture is an important element to sustainable farming, and we see farmer-members looking for new ways to implement precision agriculture practices as a benefit to operations.”
Part of Climate Answer
“This study shows that the modern agriculture industry, including Canada’s seed sector, is part of the climate solution,” said Tyler McCann, Interim Executive Director at the Canadian Seed Trade Association, “Efficiency in crop production due to precision ag tools is the yearly equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road, all while preventing an area equal to 2.2 Banff National Parks from being added to production because of yield increases.”
Significant increases in yields and further input savings can be reached as precision agriculture technologies become more widely adopted:
- Productivity has increased an estimated 4% and has the potential to further increase 7% with broader adoption.
- Precision agriculture has improved fertilizer placement efficiency by an estimated 6% and has the potential to further improve an additional 16%.
- Herbicide use has been reduced by an estimated 9% and has the potential to further decrease 16% at full adoption.
- Fossil fuel use has decreased an estimated 6% with the potential to further decrease 11%.
- Water use has decreased an estimated 7% because of current precision agriculture adoption with the potential to further decrease 18% at full adoption.
"Greater adoption of precision ag technologies is a goal, and this study reinforces the benefits that so many producers are already enjoying," said Diana Laturnus, FCC's manager of special projects. "We see tremendous value in sharing this knowledge with the industry so more farming operations will be better equipped to think long term and make the best farm management choices in the interests of sustainability, productivity and profitability."
The study highlights important areas that require collaboration to further drive the potential of precision agriculture in meeting sustainability objectives, including:
- Policies and programs that reward innovation
- Improved enabling infrastructure, including wireless broadband over croplands and rangelands
- Growing farm income so producers have capital to invest in their operations
- Improve consumer communication that builds on trust in science
About Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM)
AEM is the North America-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry in Canada supports more than 149,000 workers and contributes $45 billion a year to the national economy.
About Canadian Canola Grower Association (CCGA)
Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA) has been Helping Farmers Succeed for over 35 years. The Association represents 43,000 canola farmers on national and international issues, policies and programs that impact farm profitability. For more information visit www.ccga.ca or follow us on Twitter @ccga_ca.
About Canadian Seed Trade Association (CSTA)
CSTA is a national trade association that brings together more than 130 members engaged in all aspects of seed research, production, and marketing and trade, both domestically and internationally.
About Farm Credit Canada (FCC)
FCC builds strong relationships and shares knowledge and expertise with thousands of customers across the country. When they succeed, we succeed. We’re here to support entrepreneurs and believe in the future of ag and food. We’re a partner, a catalyst, and a champion of our industry.
About Grains Farmers of Ontario (GFO)
Grain Farmers of Ontario is the province’s largest commodity organization, representing Ontario’s 28,000 barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmers. The crops they grow cover 6 million acres of farm land across the province, generate over $4.1 billion in farm gate receipts, result in over $18 billion in economic output and are responsible for over 75,000 jobs in the province.