FARM MAPPING technology is helping growers cope with cross-compliance and Entry Level Scheme regulations, significantly cutting the time spent planning new environmental features.

That was a common view at last week”s Precision Farming Event, at Newark Showground (March 9). Exhibitors say demand for such technology has surged as growers look to get to grips with the new requirements.

“Since last November, demand for farm mapping technology has tripled and ELS has definitely been the catalyst,” says Pear Technology director John Cowling.

He acknowledges the current growth may be an anomaly, but believes demand is likely to continue to increase and, in five years” time, digital mapping could be a standard management tool on UK farms.

Soyl”s Simon Parrington agrees, reporting a 25% increase in sales over the past 12 months. But while cross-compliance and ELS have affected demand, the potential for input cost savings is also a key driver.

Digital farm mapping can make planning where to put set-aside strips, buffer zones or field margins much quicker and easier than doing it in the field, adds Retford farmer Tim Banks, of Precision Mapping.

“Mapping technology makes the what if” scenarios easier to plan. You can consider multiple options before you go into them,” he says.

But while ELS has boosted demand for such software, users need to be clear exactly what they need the system for, warns Farmade”s Peter Henley.

Whether the aim is to plan environmental features, map yields or use variable rate applications, products differ in their suitability, he adds.

paul.spackman@rbi.co.uk Variable rate PGR Picture captions: [PF01] [PF02] [PF03] Yorks farmer , believes