Canadian agriculture producers are becoming more comfortable with the adoption of digital data tools and farm management software, bolstering their trust in the technology according to a RealAgristudies survey.

The survey shows how farmers are adopting digital tools and managing data, as 66 per cent of respondents said they feel the companies that handle their data are doing a good or excellent job. That’s a 31 per cent increase from the survey conducted by AgExpert in 2018 that asked the same question.

“There was tremendous uptake by respondents to this survey which signals that digital farm management is top of mind for producers,” said Justin Funk, Agri Studies Inc. managing partner. “We learned that farmers are not just using data but are making it a priority to do more with it in the future as they make important farm management decisions.”

Over 90 per cent of respondents said they use some form of data to manage production on the farm and 60 per cent say they are moderate or extensive users of farm data.

Survey respondents cited the ability to make better decisions and to help manage costs as the top benefits of using digital data.

“While cutting costs is important, farmers may be beginning to see more holistic benefits as well,” said Funk. “They are also seeing increased efficiency, better organization and increased profitability, which all contribute to a well-run operation.”

Compared to the 2018 AgExpert survey, the 2022 RealAgristudies survey indicated that many farmers feel more comfortable sharing their data; however, some feel less comfortable.

“Companies that ranked as the most trustworthy by customers are also certified as Ag Data Transparent,” explained Funk. “That is a group that subscribes to a set of core principles around the collection, use, storing, and sharing of farm data. It speaks to the role the digital data industry has in earning the trust of farmers by being transparent and working with customers to help them understand how their information is used.”

The RealAgristudies survey suggests those who are the biggest users of farm digital data platforms and technology are also the most confident in its safety.

“With today’s rising costs, producers are wisely looking at how to be more efficient. Using any digital data tool can help producers benefit from time, labour, and cost efficiencies,” said Krista Kilback, manager, FCC AgExpert. “Once you identify where you want to find an efficiency, you can find a tool to match. For example, one customer wants to keep track of grain in the bin; that is the best efficiency on their farm and there is technology for that. Another farmer found AgExpert accounting software brought him the accurate financial information he needed in real time instead of having to sift through books and not have information when he needed it.”

The survey suggests Canadian producers are on a trajectory towards increased use and trust of digital farm management, positioning the industry for continued stability and growth in the future as individual operations adopt the agricultural management practices that are right for them.

The survey was conducted in November 2022 using the RealAgristudies Insights Panel, along with AgExpert subscribers.