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Projected 5-Year Investment in Precision Farming as Ranked by Dealers Least

Most Important or Important

1. Employee Training 2. Precision Staff

3. Customer Training 4. Marketing

5. Service Vehicles/Tools 6. Store Displays

96.3% 91.2% 48.2% 38.9% 18.6% 7.5%

Important 3.7% 8.8%

51.8% 61.1% 81.4% 92.5%

Dealerships plan to invest the most in employee training as well as their precision staff and customer training during the next five years to keep pace with technology and expand their precision business.

they plan to add it in the future. One Ohio dealer says figuring out how to deliver and

price data management services is a main objective in the next year. “Learning how to provide support to services like data management is something we’re looking at,” he says. “Get- ting as much training as possible will be needed as well as demonstrating those services to customers, so they know how to manage their information.” One of the considerations for dealerships offering data management is how to best deliver that service to customers. At this point, precision farming specialists are the ones most

commonly being called on to do so. According to the survey, 65.5% of respondents say precision technicians are delivering data management servic- es to customers. However, dealers are

also taking advantage of alternative methods to establish data manage- ment service as a part of their precision business. Sub-contracting with a crop consultant or local agronomist (24.1%), lo-

cal ag chemical firm (13.8%) or local seed/fertilizer dealer (10.3%) are partnership opportunities that could broaden the customer base. Still, there are a number of dealerships hiring their own in-house agronomists (13.8%). It will be interesting to see if this percentage continues to rise and to what extent deal- ers commit to diversification of precision farming opera- tions with data management.

The Next 5 Years Looking into the future, dealers will continue banking on pre- cision hardware for their primary source of precision revenue. GPS and guidance equipment sales ranked first on a list

of 10 areas where dealers project the most payback from their precision farming investment in the future. Of all the categories, dealers had the most confidence (91%) in choosing GPS and guidance equipment as their top source of revenue in five years. It’s a safe bet that this equipment will remain in high demand, as dealers note there are plenty of farmers yet to adopt precision technology. Ranking second and third, respectively, were application technology (85.8%) and planter controls (76.9%), both of which dealers say they are starting to include as options on new farm equipment. Row clutches on planters and auto- boom shut-off on sprayers are increasingly common fea- tures being offered to customers. Fourth on the list was software service, which indicates the investment dealers plan to make in this tool. However, agronomic service ranked ninth, which may

mean dealers will focus more on the computer side of their precision business rather than offering planting prescriptions. Although some dealers we’ve talked with are adding precision water management tools, 60.6% projected this technology as their lowest source of revenue in five years. But in order to effectively grow precision farming offer-

ings, dealerships will need to hire additional skilled personnel. In five years, dealers anticipate their largest investment

in precision farming will be in employee training (96.3%) and hiring additional staff (91.2%).


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