Farmers' perspectives on field crop robots – Evidence from Bavaria, Germany
Computers and Electronics in Agriculture
A B S T R A C T Farmers' attitudes toward field crop robots in a European setting have hardly been studied despite an increasing availability of the technology. Given the relevance of robots for small-scale agriculture, however, their acceptability in regions dominated by small-scale agriculture such as Bavaria, Germany, is of particular interest. Based on a sample of 174 farmers, an exploratory investigation of factors influencing the preference for large or small field crop robots in general
... nd in specific settings and for mode of operation was carried out. Data were gathered using questionnaires at two events including lectures and field demonstrations and analyzed using bivariate tests. Farm size, farming system (organic/conventional), and occupational structure (part-time/full-time) were relevant attributes influencing the evaluation of advantages and disadvantages of field crop robots. Generally, respondents from larger farms focus more on financial benefits from robots and prefer large autonomous tractors. Conversely, small-scale or organic farmers consider environmental benefits of field crop robots relatively more important and favor small robots. Organic farming also positively correlates with the intent to purchase field crop robots within the next five years. More farmers can generally imagine owning small robots as opposed to an autonomous tractor in ten years, but at the same time view autonomous tractors as more suitable for most specified agronomic tasks. Non-purchase options such as contractor services and machinery sharing represent the preferred modes of robot deployment.