Technology assessment of PF and information management systems in open natural environments:Farmer’s use of time for management

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The objective of this study is to assess farmer’s adoption of Farm Management Information Systems and its impact on labour time. It is specified how farmers use their office hours on the farm and how different farm characteristics affect the time spend at the office. The farm and farmers characteristics in focus are age and education of the farmer as well as type and size of the farms. The report is based on a multinational survey that was carried out in autumn 2009 with 4 countries, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Finland and presented in deliverable 5.2.

In this report focus is put on the Danish part of the multinational survey. A part of the report describes different autonomous systems that are currently applied and adoption among Danish farmers.

For most farms the adoption of automatic systems causes a moderate reduction of total weekly office hours spend at the farm.

It was also found that beef/cattle farmers who have adopted an autonomous system spent more time at the farm office compared to beef/cattle farmers who have not adopted an automatic system. This is also the case when comparing this group with other farm types.  

Findings from this study also show that farmers in the age group between 20-39 years with university degrees spent more hours at the farm office compared to farmers with shorter educational degrees. However, as the age increases farmers with university degrees spend fewer hours on farm office activities.

In general, most farms are estimated to spend the same amount of time at the farm office no matter the size of the farm. However, the larger farms have an advantage due to economies of scale because they spent fewer hours per hectare. It was found that farms with 0-50 hectares spent 0.347 hours per hectares per week on average, farms with 50-150 hectare spent 0.080 hours per hectare per week and farms with 150-1250 spent 0.013 hours per hectare per week.

The large farms spend fewer hours for planning activities compared to smaller farms. The reason is probably that larger farms outsource these activities to their advisors. The process of applying for subsidies and other regulation may be rather complicated for large farms and therefore it is better to let professional people deal with it.

In addition, large farms prioritize to learn new procedures and seek information compared to smaller farms. One explanation could be that the larger farms to some extent are more competitive and early adopters and open for trying new methods.

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