Tech Check Project 2020

Now that 2021 is upon us, we'd like to show you something we got up to last year; Tech Check. 

Accelerating the Adoption of Productivity Systems for Farming Businesses (or Tech Check for short) was developed by YAGRO to help farms discover, understand, and adopt new technology systems to drive productivity on the farm. The project, which took place between January and May 2020, set out to investigate two main hypothesise to determine if an economically viable service could offer a way of increasing farm technology in the industry. These hypotheses were:

  • A service can be developed, which has a beneficial impact on farms by increasing their adoption of technology and business productivity.  

  • This service can be economically viable by returning appropriate value to the farm and the service provider.  

Exploration via three approaches

The project consisted of three different approaches designed to explore these hypothesises. They were;

  • Traditional Approach

  • Digital Enabled Approach 

  • Full Digital Approach 

Each of the approaches gave farms the opportunity to hear from a group of industry experts and improve their knowledge and understanding of the following areas; Procurement, Benchmarking, Grain Marketing, Precision Farming, Crop Management, Finance Software and Compliance Tools. The project aimed to show that farms could boost their productivity through increased and better use of the farm technologies available.  

Traditional Approach 

Participants had face to face communication with YAGRO (until March when it switched to over the phone). Initially, YAGRO asked participants a series of open-ended questions. The answers were digitised and analysed by YAGRO before speaking to the farms to take them through their responses and establish which experts they felt they would benefit from talking to. YAGRO set up calls between the farms and the experts to discuss the areas relevant to them. 

After chatting to the industry experts; 70% said that their view of adopting new farm technology had changed with 90% saying that they are either likely or very likely to adopt one or more of the recommendations made to them. By the end, 60% of those taking the Traditional Approach said they intended to implement one or more recommended changes in the next 12-18 months. 

Digital Enabled Approach

The Digital Enabled Approach consisted of an initial survey completed online followed by a half-day workshop where each industry expert gave a 45 min talk. The online survey allowed farms to think and gain insight into their business whilst making them aware of what technologies and opportunities are out there. After the workshop, the participants filled out a closing survey. 

The closing survey showed that 90% of those who took part in the Digitally Enabled Approach had changed their view on adopting new technology. When asked how likely they were to implement one or more of the recommended changes, 99% said they were likely or very likely to. In the final survey, 45% said they would adopt some of the changes with a further 14% saying they would implement most or all of them.

Full Digital Approach 

The participants filled out an initial online survey, which like the Digitally Enabled Approach, was analysed by YAGRO before being emailed to them. The industry experts recorded short educational videos that farms could access and watch at a time convenient to them. The participants filled out a closing survey once they had watched the videos.

The closing survey showed that 58% of those involved in the Full Digital Approach had changed their views on farm technology. On implementing changes, 65% said they were likely or very likely to adopt the changes recommended in the videos. In the closing survey, 45% said they would adopt some of the changes, with a further 13% saying they would implement most or all of them. 

Project outcome

The project showed that a mixed approach was the most beneficial. Those involved with the Digitally Enabled Approach were the most open and willing to implement new technologies on their farms. The workshop was the most effective in generating change as 60% of participants said attending the workshop had been the most significant contributing factor in changing their opinions. Those involved in the Full Digital Approach were the least open and likely to implement changes, with only 58% saying that their opinion on the use of technology had changed. 

The study shows to increase the adoption level of new technologies on farms; a mixed approach is the most effective in getting people involved and interested, effectively face to face contact is still appreciated. 

Thank you to our fantastic panel of experts; 

Bryony Parker, BP Consulting – Finance Software
Daniel Jolly, Yagro – Procurement
Daniel Kindred, ADAS – Precision Farming
Giles Blatchford, JP Trett – Benchmarking
James Bolesworth, CRM – Grain Marketing

To read the full Tech Check report please click here.