Mind Your Farm Business — Ep. 36: Evaluating bleeding edge vs. leading edge farm technology


What is something you don’t know about your farm right now that you’d like to know? Is there technology out there to solve a particular problem you have?

When it comes to navigating the very noisy space that is farm technology, Rob Saik, agrologist and agriculture technology leader, says these questions are a good place to start. Technology, after all, must be useful. But just as it’s important to evaluate the cost and type of app, hardware, or automation you may adopt, it’s just as important to give that technology adequate commitment of human resources, as well.

Too often, Saik says in this edition of Mind Your Farm Business, farmers are keen to invest in the technology but fall short on the time and effort required to really give the tech a chance to accomplish what it’s designed to do. In that way, Saik says the evaluation of adopting and integrating new technology for your farm business is really a two-step process.

Winter (or whenever your off season is) is a great time to get comfortable with something new, Saik says. If it’s a new platform you’ve invested in, there is a fair amount of data input and uploads that need to happen ahead of time so you can hit the ground running in the spring. “You’re going to end up frustrated if you don’t commit the time,” he adds.

And that is perhaps a huge part of where some may argue that the return on investment (ROI) in tech hasn’t always measured up. ROI is at least partially dependent on full implementation, Saik says, and it’s up to the operator (or your farm advisors and agronomists) to make the most of it.

That said, there are always going to be those pieces that DON’T work, but that doesn’t mean it’s a complete waste, either. Take the time to learn or invest in new things each year — and budget for it — but understand that some apps or software just won’t work out, and that’s OK. Learning what doesn’t work or how much time you do or don’t have to commit is a valuable lesson too.

Listen to this full episode of Mind Your Farm Business below, including Rob Saik’s thoughts on which technology has over-achieved and which is still working hard to prove its worth. 

Disclaimer: Royal Bank of Canada and its subsidiaries are not responsible for the information provided in this podcast, and this information does not necessarily reflect the views of Royal Bank of Canada or any of its subsidiaries. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its subsidiaries.


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