GPS-driven precision farming techniques are used on about 40% of barometer farms, a picture unlikely to change much in the next two years, the survey suggests.
One of Brian Shaw’s combines is already so-equipped. “We may buy a guidance system for cultivations,” he adds.
Simon Porter uses satellite information, but only to help drive wide machinery accurately – not for guiding fertiliser or pesticide distribution.
Charlie Edgley has also just bought a tractor with GPS steering, Andrew Symonds expects to follow suit within two years, and John Best is taking part in a DANI trial of the technology.
“We got our soils GPS mapped two years ago,” says Nick Davidson. “It’s given us some very useful information, and we managed to use our own equipment to apply pelleted lime.”
James Porter also uses GPS data to guide lime dressings. “Indications are it is less useful for NPK,” he says.
However Keith Snowball has yet to be persuaded. “Why go to the expense when a good operator and machine can do the job? It’s gadgetry for gadgetry’s sake.”