The marriage between ag technology and no-till has typically been a stable one. While recent years have seen farmers be more judicious with their precision expenditures, demanding more return on investment, no-tillers have tended to maintain or increase their spending on ag technology products and services.
Results of the 13th annual No-Till Operational Benchmark Study revealed a 150% increase in the average per-farm investment in precision technology, jumping from more than $1,600 in 2019 to more than $4,000 in 2020.
There was also an increase in no-tillers’ year-over-year investment in precision services. While growers anticipated spending only $1,400 on precision services in 2020, those expenses actually averaged about $2,600, compared to the 2019 average of about $1,800 per farm.
While not a large amount in absolute terms, the actual expense was an 85% increase over what was forecast.
So what kind of ag tech investments are no-tillers anticipating in 2021? Estimates are on the conservative side, with farmers forecasting precision equipment expenses to decrease — albeit very slightly — in 2021, to about $2,500 per farm.
On the service side, no-tillers are anticipating spending about the same per farm, which would be consistent with 2020.
However, it’s worth noting that survey projections made at the start of the year, don’t always coincide with end of the year totals and historically, actual precision expenditures have exceeded initial projections.