Precision Agriculture

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 2–17 | Cite as

The role of communication and co-operation in the adoption of precision farming

  • T. KutterEmail author
  • S. Tiemann
  • R. Siebert
  • S. Fountas


Research on Precision Farming (PF) relates the adoption of PF primarily to economic incentives as well as farm attributes, whereas social factors are commonly ignored. Therefore, the present study analyses the importance of farmers’ communication and co-operation strategies in the adoption of PF and their relation to farm attributes. Forty-nine qualitative interviews with stakeholders from the agricultural sector were conducted. The survey was based in Germany where most interviews took place and reflected with findings from the Czech Republic, Denmark and Greece. It is revealed that farms differ in their communication strategies depending on farm size. Joint investment in PF was only reported from some regions. It can be assumed that agricultural contractors will be major driving forces behind the adoption of PF over the next 10 years, especially in areas with smaller-sized farms. Agricultural data processing by service providers is seen as a common issue. Concerns regarding potential data misuse, over-regulation and software compatibility were raised.


Technology assessment Contractors Innovation Interviews 



This project was part of the collaborative research project FutureFarm. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007–2013) under grant agreement no 212117. This publication does not necessarily reflect the European Commission’s views and does not anticipate the Commission’s future policy in this area. Its content is the sole responsibility of the authors. The authors would like to thank all participants of the survey. Special thanks are given to Jörg Pilz for the technical assistance as well as to Armin Werner, Frank Dreger and Edward Nash for providing contacts to potential interviewees and overall project management and to Markus Kienscherf and Ingo Zasada for proof reading and comments.


  1. Allaire, G., & Boiffin, J. (2004). Innovation and development: Intensification/disintensification paradigms—Reflections from French experience. In A. Cristóvão (Ed.), Proceedings of the sixth European IFSA symposium (2) (pp. 517–525). Vila Real, Portugal.Google Scholar
  2. Atteslander, P. (2008). Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung [Methods of empirical social research]. Berlin, Germany: Erich Schmidt Verlag GmbH & Co.Google Scholar
  3. Auernhammer, H. (2001). Precision farming—The environmental challenge. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 30(1–3), 31–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Batte, M. T. (2005). Changing computer use in agriculture: Evidence from Ohio. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 47(1), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bundesverband für Lohnunternemnen (BLU) e.V. (2009). Wichtige Strukturdaten der Lohnunternehmer 2006 [Important data on agricultural contractors 2006]. Accessed 25 August 2009.
  6. Daberkow, S., & McBride, W. (2003). Farm and operator characteristics affecting the awareness and adoption of precision agriculture technologies in the US. Precision Agriculture, 4(2), 163–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Daskalopoulou, I., & Petrou, A. (2002). Utilising a farm typology to identify potential adopters of alternative farming activities in Greek agriculture. Journal of Rural Studies, 18(1), 95–103.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Edwards-Jones, G. (2006). Modelling farmer decision-making: Concepts, progress and challenges. Animal Science, 82, 783–790.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fountas, S., Blackmore, S., Ess, D., Hawkins, S., Blumhoff, G., Lowenberg-DeBoer, J., et al. (2005). Farmer experience with precision agriculture in Denmark and the US Eastern Corn Belt. Precision Agriculture, 6(2), 121–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fuchs, C., Kasten, J., & Bauer, U. (2006). Perspektiven für Managementgesellschaften im Marktfruchtbau am Beispiel Nordostdeutschlands. [Perspectives for management bodies/companies in crop farming at the example of North East Germany]. In Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank (Ed.) Organisatorische und technologische Innovationen in der Landwirtschaft [Organizational and technological innovations in agriculture], Schriftenreihe 21 (pp. 57–96). Frankfurt am Main: Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank, Germany. Accessed 25 August 2009.
  11. Griffin, T. W., Lowenberg-DeBoer, J., Lambert, D. M., Peone, J., Payne, T., & Daberkow, S. G. (2004). Adoption, profitability, and making better use of precision farming data. Staff Paper #04-06. USA: Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.Google Scholar
  12. Hansen, J. P., Hansen, N. F., Hørning, A., & Schultz, E. (2005).—A personal portal for farmers. In J. Boaventura Cunha & R. Morais (Eds.), Proceedings of the EFITA/WCCA 2005 joint conference, 5th conference of the European Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, Food and Environment and the 3rd World Congress on Computers in Agriculture and Natural Resources, 25–28 July 2005, Vila Real, Portugal. Accessed 25 August 2009.
  13. Knight, B., & Malcolm, B. (2007). A whole-farm investment analysis of some precision agriculture technologies. Paper presented at the 51st Annual Conference of the Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, Queenstown, NZ. Accessed 25 August 2009.
  14. Lamb, D. W., Frazier, P., & Adams, P. (2008). Improving pathways to adoption: Putting the right P’s in precision agriculture. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 61(1), 4–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Leeuwis, C. (2004). Changing views of innovation and the role of science. The ‘socio-technical roots stem’ as a tool for identifying relevant cross-disciplinar research questions. In A. Cristóvão (Ed.), Proceedings of the sixth European IFSA symposium (2) (pp. 773–782). Vila Real, Portugal.Google Scholar
  16. Mayring, P. (2000). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Grundlagen und Techniken [Qualitative content analysis. Basics and Techniques]. Weinheim, Germany: Deutscher Studien Verlag.Google Scholar
  17. Meuser, M., & Nagel, U. (1991). ExpertInneninterviews—vielfach erprobt, wenig bedacht. Ein Beitrag zur qualitativen Methodendiskussion.[Interviews with experts: Often used, seldom discussed. A contribution to debates on qualitative methods]. In D. Garz & K. Kraimer (Eds.), Qualitativ-empirische, Sozialforschung. Konzepte, Methoden, Analysen [Qualitative-empirical social research. Concepts, methods, analysis] (pp. 441–471). Opladen, Germany: Westdeutscher Verlag.Google Scholar
  18. Pannell, D. J., Marshall, G. R., Barr, N., Curtis, A., Vanclay, F., & Wilkinson, R. (2006). Understanding and promoting adoption of conservation practices by rural landholders. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 46, 1407–1424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research & evaluation methods. Thousand Oaks, CA, USA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  20. Pedersen, S. M., Fountas, S., Blackmore, B. S., Gylling, M., & Pedersen, J. L. (2004). Adoption and perspectives of precision farming in Denmark. Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B-Soil and Plant Science, 54(1), 2–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Reichardt, M., & Jürgens, C. (2008). Adoption and future perspective of precision farming in Germany: Results of several surveys among different agricultural target groups. Precision Agriculture, 10(1), 73–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Robert, P. C. (2002). Precision agriculture: A challenge for crop nutrition management. Plant and Soil, 247(1), 143–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Rogers, E. M. (2003). Diffusion of innovations. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  24. Schwaiberger, R. (2004). Software Lohnunternehmer [Software contractors]. In A. Werner & A. Jarfe (Eds.), Precision agriculture: Herausforderung an integrative Forschung, Entwicklung und Anwendung in der Praxis [Precision agriculture: Challenges for integrative research, development and practical application] (pp. 321–338). Bonn, Germany: KTBL-Sonderveröffentlichung 038. Accessed 25 August 2009.
  25. Silva, C. B., Do Vale, S. M. L. R., Pinto, F. A. C., Muller, C. A. S., & Moura, A. D. (2007). The economic feasibility of precision agriculture in Mato Grosso do Sul State, Brazil: A case study. Precision Agriculture, 8(6), 255–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Soerensen, C. G., Fountas, S., Blackmore, S., & Pedersen, H. H. (2002). Information sources and decision making on precision farming. In P. C. Robert, R. H. Rust, & W. E. Larson (Eds.), Proceedings of the 6th international conference on precision agriculture (pp. 1763–1775). Madison, USA: ASA, CSSA, SSSA & ASAE. CD-Rom.Google Scholar
  27. Spilke, J., & Zürnstein, K. (2005). Webservices—Beschreibung eines Ansatzes zur Anwendungskopplung und von Nutzensmöglichkeiten im Agrarbereich [Web services—Description of an approach for joint application and its exploitability in the agricultural sector]. Zeitschrift für Agrarinformatik, 2, 33–40.Google Scholar
  28. Sylvester-Bradley, R., Lord, E., Sparkes, D. L., Scott, R. K., Wiltshire, J. J. J., & Orson, J. (1999). An analysis of the potential of precision farming in Northern Europe. Soil Use and Management, 15(1), 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Takacs-Gyorgy, K. (2008). Economic aspects of chemical reduction on farming: Role of precision farming—Will the production structure change? Cereal Research Communications, 36, 19–22.Google Scholar
  30. Wendt, K., Spilke, J., Thiede, J., & Piotraschke, H. (2004). Outsourcing von IV-Aufgaben landwirtschaftlicher Unternehmen—Einordnung und Nutzungsperspektiven [Outsourcing information processing tasks of agricultural enterprises—Classification and potential use perspectives]. Zeitschrift für Agrarinformatik, 2, 34–42.Google Scholar
  31. Zhang, N., Wang, M., & Wang, N. (2002). Precision agriculture—A worldwide overview. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 36(2–3), 113–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leibniz-Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF)Institute of SocioeconomicsMünchebergGermany
  2. 2.Farm Mechanization Lab, Crop Sciences and Rural EnvironmentUniversity of ThessalyNea IoniaGreece

Personalised recommendations