Adopting new technology is part of developing an operation. But what technologies should you take on? And when? It can be challenging what to decide to buy into and what to leave by the way side. Dietrich Kastens, a farmer out of Atwood, Kansas, gives examples of how technology has become an important part of his family’s operation.
“Technology adoption is as much a part of agricultural history as the crops we grow,” he says.
New technologies require investment in both labor and capital. But farmers need to know will the idea pay? How much and at what rate? Usually within the first couple years farmers won’t know these answers. Kastens however divides technology into two categories to help decide what to use.
Obvious technologies are small but sure gains. The majority of producers quickly adopt the ideas. These technologies don’t have a long profit gain. An example of obvious technologies is Roundup Ready soybeans.
The other area is less obvious technologies. Examples include variable rate technology and no-till. There are several challenges producers face with less obvious technologies.
· The money gains of these ideas may not be evident early on. They are usually a significant investment in education, labor, and capital.
· The possibilities are endless. “When farmers change to no-till there are so many changes that they also see plenty of failures to learn from,” Kastens says.
· Analyzing data is difficult early on. With the lack of training and education, there aren’t great resources to take back to the farm.