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May 12, 2019

Farmer Use of Ag Data Software

by Nathan Delay

In this era of precision agriculture and big data, farmers are increasingly pressured to adopt a farm data software platform. Companies such as Granular, Farmers Edge and Conservis allow producers to manage and analyze their data. They promise actionable insights that boost yields or reduce input costs.

The sale of The Climate Corporation, now known as Climate FieldView, to Monsanto, now Bayer, for nearly $1 billion highlights the potential value of farm data software. Investment in companies producing farm management software, sensing platforms and internet of things solutions rose 27% in 2017 and 65% in 2018, according to AgFunder News.

But despite the apparent eagerness for venture capital, little is known about the popularity of farm data services among commercial producers. To investigate this, Purdue University’s Center for Commercial Agriculture and CME Group included questions related to farm data software adoption in their April Ag Economy Barometer survey.

Surveyed farms were asked if they currently use Climate FieldView; Granular, owned by DowDuPont; Encirca, also owned by DowDuPont; Trimble; and Farmers Business Network. These five were chosen based on Google search data indicating their relative popularity among known products.

What results say

Farm data software adoption by product.

Farm data software adoption by product.

While adoption rates vary by product, 40% of surveyed farms currently use at least one type of farm data software. Climate FieldView is the most popular, at 16% of farms surveyed, followed by Trimble at 12%, FBN at 8%, Encirca at 4% and Granular at 2%. In addition, 13% of farms use a platform not specifically asked about in the survey. Of these, software used for John Deere equipment is the most common.


Of farms using any software, one-third use multiple platforms simultaneously. This suggests that software products address a variety of farm needs and may be complementary. This is particularly true for FBN, whose primary value is its “crowd-sourced” network of input cost and performance data. Among FBN subscribers, over 80% also use another farm data platform.

Data software users were asked how much they spend per year in subscription fees. Of those responding, 51% pay less than $5 per acre, 14% pay between $5 and $10 per acre, and 1% of users pay more than $10 per acre. Strikingly, one-third of users pay nothing for their farm data platforms. This reflects the “freemium” pricing model in which entry-level products are offered at no cost and fees are incurred for upgrades.

Some on sidelines

Respondents not currently using farm data software were asked to indicate their primary reason for not doing so. Of the available responses, a lack of familiarity with the technology was the most popular at 51%, while 23% of farms perceived farm data software as too expensive.

Another 21% of respondents didn’t see the value, and 4% specified “other” as to why they don’t use ag data software platforms.

If you have never used or subscribed to a farm data software product, what was the primary reason?

If you have never used or subscribed to a farm data software product, what was the primary reason?


All participants were asked if they had ever used but then abandoned a farm data software product. Of those who had, 40% cited cost as the primary reason for ending their subscription. About a third found that the software did not integrate well with their equipment, and 19% indicated the product was not user-friendly.

If you ever stopped using or subscribing to a farm data software product, what was the primary reason?

If you ever stopped using or subscribing to a farm data software product, what was the primary reason?




The Value of Farm Data

March 24, 2021

Purdue University agricultural economist Brady Brewer is joined by Purdue agricultural economist Nate Delay to discuss the value of your farm data in this episode of the Purdue Commercial AgCast. They discuss the types of farm data, the trust in sharing your data, and what price you’d put on that data.


Data and Precision Ag Usage

June 17, 2020

Purdue ag economists, Nate Delay joins Brady Brewer to discuss how farms actually collect, manage, and analyze data during today’s episode on the Purdue Commercial AgCast.


Farm Data Usage in Commercial Agriculture

January 23, 2020

This survey provides a useful glimpse into the farm data lifecycle from collection to action to evaluation. We find that among large commercial corn and soybean operations, data collection is common (92% collect at least one type of farm data) and that collection is strongly related to farm characteristics.



Monthly Corn & Soybean Outlook Webinar Series

Webinar each month following USDA’s release of the updated World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE). Join us Wednesday, December 15 for our next monthly update on the corn and soybean outlook following release of USDA’s December Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports. Registration is free.

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Top Farmer Conference 2022

January 7, 2022 | virtual conference

A management programs geared specifically for farmers. Surrounded by farm management, farm policy, agricultural finance and marketing experts, and a group of your peers, the conference will stimulate your thinking about agriculture’s future and how you can position your farm to be successful in the years ahead.

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October Corn & Soybean Outlook Update

October 13, 2021

Recorded October 13 | Purdue ag economists review USDA’s October Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) reports.


Comparing Net Returns for Alternative Leasing Arrangements

August 4, 2021

A west central Indiana case farm is used to illustrate net returns to land derived from crop share, fixed cash rent, and flexible cash lease arrangements. Leases on agricultural land are strongly influenced by local custom and tradition. However, in most areas, landowners and operators can choose from several types of lease arrangements.


Indiana Farmland Prices Hit New Record High in 2021

July 26, 2021

It is safe to say that the last year was unlike any other in recent memory. The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruption to our lives and the global economy. Surprisingly, many of the current economic forces put upward pressure on farmland prices.