Factors Related To Adoption Of Precision Agriculture Technologies In Southern Brazil
The adoption of technologies which allow the increase of food production with improving quality in addition to reduce the foot prints in the environment is important for agribusiness development. Precision Agriculture (PA) stands out as an option to aid the achievement of these goals. Brazil plays an important role to supply agricultural products and to demand technologies. However, research has focused on technical and economic implementation of PA technologies. Therefore, more information about the dynamics of PA adoption process in Brazil is required. Initially, information about the profile of adopters and about factors that influence farmer decision to adopt PA can clarify some aspects of adoption process. Some technological attributes described in the diffusion of innovation theory are analyzed in this study (relative advantage, compatibility, ease of use, observability and trialability). These attributes act on persuasion phase of the decision process and can explain 49% to 87% of the variance on adoption rate. Additionally, socio-economic characteristics of farmers were analyzed. The objective of this work was to investigate factors related to PA adoption by farmers in Rio Grande do Sul State, southern Brazil. An online survey was sent to 715 adopters during August to October 2011. Seventy-five usable questionnaires were returned (10% return rate). Descriptive analysis allowed the characterization of PA adopters as well as adoption process, while factor analysis followed by multiple linear regression were used to verify users’ perception regarding PA technology attributes. The results show that PA adoption is growing slowly, since it is a complex technology that involves several complementary tools. However the rate of adoption should increase as more benefits are proven. The gap between farmers’ expectations and real capabilities of PA technologies can still prevent greater adoption. The main motivations for adopting PA were to increase crop productivity and reduce production cost. The most frequent problems related to the adoption of PA were the high price of equipments and lack of trained personnel. Time of PA adoption was 4.3 years on average. PA adopters have a high level of formal education, use several sources of information, have a predominantly agricultural income and cultivate large areas. The most adopted PA tools used in grain production systems are grid soil sampling, variable rate application and lightbar guidance. It was noted that PA adoption is highly dependent on PA services. PA technology attributes – relative advantage, observability, compatibility and trialability – determine 48% of PA adopters’ satisfaction and “relative advantage” of technology is the factor of greatest explicative potential.