Measuring a farm's profitability after adopting precision agriculture technologies: A case study from Italy

Giorgia Bucci, Deborah Bentivoglio, Matteo Belletti, Adele Finco


Precision agriculture (PA) offers the opportunity for farmers to improve both efficiency in managing resources and optimisation of process inputs, thus increasing their whole farm’s profitability. Despite these well-known benefits, the adoption of PA technologies (PATs) is still challenging due to socio-economic barriers and unique characteristics of the farms: cropping systems, technical developments, field sizes and farm scale. The economic aspect is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects to consider before adopting PATs. In most of the cases, farmers are reluctant to introduce precision farming systems since the costs and uncertainty about the profitability and advantages need to be addressed. This study aims to explore how PATs could affect the profitability of a representative Italian farm specialising in the production of cereals, making this a case study. In detail, an economic analysis was applied to determine the profitability of the farm, which showed that the adoption of PAT’s increased the yield of durum and soft wheat and significantly reduced the cost of mechanical operations and technical means. Therefore, the potential gains from the adoption of PATs challenges policymakers to design targeted interventions which could encourage their uptake. This paper is an extended version of the original contribution presented to the 2019 IEEE International Workshop on Metrology for Agriculture and Forestry (MetroAgriFor) in Portici, Italy.

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