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Undergraduate Research Journal

Abstract

The percentage of corn acres planted using precision agriculture has increased approximately 23%, from 49% in 2005 to 72% in 2010 (USDA ERS ARMS, 2015). Precision agriculture (PA) encompasses a wide range of farming practices and ideas that are meant to maximize farm profits and efficiency while maintaining low negative impacts on the environment. PA practices are being adopted quickly across major corn producing states. Variable rate technology (VRT) used for any purpose is one PA practice increasing in its use on corn planted acres.

Previous studies have examined advantages and disadvantages of adopting PA practices such as variable rate application (VRA) of fertilizer, a VRT. However, the direct effect of the adoption of PA practices and its effect on farm expenditures on a dollar per acre basis in the US has not been thoroughly analyzed. The purpose of this study is to determine how the adoption of PA practices, including VRT, affect farm expenditures on a dollar per acre basis in the major corn production region of the United States. A uniquely constructed dataset and regression analysis will be used. Results are important to producers considering adopting PA practices because of the high costs. Data is only available for corn acres planted with PA. It will be assumed that a grower using PA to plant corn acres is also using PA for other production activities such as tillage, spraying, and harvesting. Data gathered from the USDA Economic Research Service and National Agricultural Statistics Service include: expenditures per operation, acres per operation, index of input prices paid, percentage of corn acres planted using PA, and percentage of corn acres planted using VRT. The following section will review the approaches and major findings of previous literature.

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