Technology — Flexibility $$$
The Big Decision
Cost Of Adopting Technology Is Always
By Amanda Huber
A popular commercial has the tagline, “Life comes at you fast.” Whereas life on the farm used to be thought of as living in the “slow lane,” the rate at which technology is coming at producers seems a lot more like the commercial’s slogan.
It once took years for technology to develop. Now it’s a challenge for producers to keep up with all of the new technology changes.
“In the ’70s or ’80s, over a period of three years, everything would be pretty much the same,” says Eddie McGriff, Extension County Coordinator in Coffee County, Ga. “Now, things can be completely different in just three years.”
The goal of using a new technology is usually to bring a change that promotes ease and efficiency. Researchers conduct continuous studies on many technologies, asking the question: Is this cost effective to the producer?
For example, Amanda Ziehl, University of Georgia Extension economist, studied the effects of varying irrigation and mepiquat chloride on quality traits and yield.
“We tried to figure out if the producer could use less mepiquat chloride, thereby saving the producer money,” Zeihl says.
Studies such as this are important in helping to reinforce that technology can improve a producer’s bottom line. But Zeihl realizes that the price of implementing the technology may turn some producers away.
“Incorporating the costs of the technology can be a barrier to producers wanting to purchase a technology,” she says. “The key is learning how to make it pay off in their production system.”
While Zeihl and others study variable rate technology, McGriff says guidance systems have been widely adopted in his area. “Guidance systems help farmers be- come more efficient,” he says.
The benefit of these systems in cotton is in product application.
“The advantage comes when you are using your Spray Coupe and applying Pix or a defoliant,” he says.
Many sources of technology information are available to producers. However, McGriff says that producers should start with other producers – at least ones who have used the technology successfully.
“Go to someone who’s been successful with the technology; farmers are more than willing to share their experiences and information,” he says.
“Ask how they used the technology. Was it worth the value? What were the pitfalls? Learn from their experiences. You should get a pretty good idea of whether you can use the technology successfully as well.”
Other sources are popular farm publications, Extension personnel, equipment dealers, chemical and seed companies and the Internet.
“There are a lot of different sources to explore to keep up with the technologies of all crops, including varieties,” McGriff says.
Contact Amanda Huber at (352) 486-7006 or firstname.lastname@example.org.