AgriLink The role of advisory services in farmers’ decision making for innovation uptake: precision farming. - AgriLink

The role of advisory services in farmers’ decision making for innovation uptake: precision farming.

Czech Republic, Central Bohemian and South Moravian region
Region

South Moravian and Central Bohemian region, The Czech Republic, are agricultural regions neighbouring the capital city Prague (Central Bohemian region) or the second biggest city Brno (South Moravian region).

Region map.

Both regions (Central Bohemia and South Moravia Region) copes with water scarcity and erosion. Namely, more than 50 % of arable land in the Czech Republic is an erosion endangered area. That is a big challenge for the regions.

The regions were selected as focus regions for the precision farming arrangements due to its potential to be pioneers in the Czech Republic. Many suppliers and universities are settled in the regions, developed the new technologies and in cooperation with farmers adjusted them on the farms.

Study focus

The study focuses on the flow of knowledge to and among farmers, especially, those active in – and considering entry to – the full range of new technology possibilities offering by current satellite and digital technologies. Moreover, it focuses on the decision process about suitable technologies for the particular business model.  Particular attention is paid to distinguishing the knowledge systems of the pioneers and early adopters from the non-adopters.

Precision farming is a new way how to adjust inputs according to local conditions (soil, crops, buffer strips). The previous (the communist cooperative scheme) field arrangement, i.e. big field (more than 30 ha per plot) created good condition for the Czech farmers to uptake advantage of this innovation. The average size of a farm in the sample is 1546 ha in the range from 63 ha to 8000 ha. In the group of the adopters, the majority of farms is over 1 000 ha (nevertheless the range is from 140 to 8000 ha). In the group of non-adopters, the majority has less than 500 ha.  The group of non-adopters includes one extra big cooperative (over 5000 ha), which doubles the overall average of the group. Therefore, the average size of them is 720 ha, however the average size without the extreme is 357 ha.

 

Full report is available here.

Partner and responsible person contact

UZEI

Marta Mrnuštík Konečná, konecna.marta@uzei.cz

Institute of Agricultural Economics and information (UZEI) has a vast experience in working with rural development policy. The department of advisory services provide the certification of accredited advisors. The multi-actor working group, coordinated by the UZEI, prepare the new scheme of advisory services, in the new CAP period.

Lessons learned
1 The state role in the advisory support services differs in relation to the type of farmer innovation profile.
The first type includes the most skilful farmers (usually the innovation pioneers) who need mainly the consultation with the state representative. The consultation should ensure the farmers that their new practice complies with current and upcoming legislation. The second type includes followers who have the capacity and active willingness to adopt new practices. They need to get information about the new practice and help in the assessment, modification and implementation from pioneers. The role of pioneer as an advice provider could be subsidised by the advice supplier who has detailed information from the pioneer. The last type includes the majority farmers who need to be encouraged by the strong economic benefits or pushed by the state restrictions. In this group, the state support could play the most significant role (e.g. in the soil protection intervention).
2 Some farms employ the innovation specialists.
They have a high motivation to collect the information on the further development of the farm, such as new machineries, new inputs or the legislation (including the government tendency to introduce new interventions). These specialists are ready to take part in field trials, research, and search support in research and advisory centres.
3 The main barriers to implement the innovation is uncertainties in future farming.
The uncertainties mentioned in the interviews are inconsistency of directions of the agricultural policy and the related law.
4 Farmers have mainly adopted the innovation due to the preparation to upcoming state regulation and climate change (water scarcity).
Furthermore, the adoption was motivated by the pioneers' experience of the significant saving of inputs while maintaining or increasing the yield.
5 The tech innovation – today's precision farming is related to the GPS signal.
Therefore, the increasing number of suppliers is correlated with the increasing accessibility of the precise public signal of the satellite and farmers’ willingness to buy GPS and other related services.

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