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Corn growers are the most tech-savvy farmers

Corn growers are the most tech-savvy farmers

U.S. corn farmers are proving themselves to be quick learners.

Growers producing the grain on big plots—those bigger than 2,900 acres—are using precision-agriculture methods at twice the rate of the nation’s farmers overall, a U.S. Department of Agriculture study says. And the farmers’ savvy could be paying off; the agency estimates that the new technologies are helping to increase profits.

“Precision-agriculture technologies require a significant investment of capital and time, but may offer cost savings and higher yields through more precise management of inputs,” David Schimmelpfennig, an agricultural economist writes in the report.

Average-size U.S. corn farms using GPS mapping see about a three per cent increase in operating profit, and the gain for net returns is almost two per cent, the agency says. Guidance systems boost operating profit by 2.5 per cent, and variable-rate technology raises it by about 1.1 per cent, the study shows.