Rage Against The Machine

20/03/13 -- A very interesting couple of Defra surveys into computer usage by farmers can be found here Luddites!

All sorts of statistics catch the eye, including that only 86% of farms have access to a computer, according to the October 2012 Farm Practices Survey. Techno geek that I am, it's also astonishing to read that only 29% of farmers have a smartphone.

A different Farm Business Survey found that a slightly higher 90% of farm businesses had a computer. Presumably the other 10% that they emailed failed to reply?

Perhaps not surprising is the finding that "faster broadband and/or better internet connections were the most frequently cited factors that would increase (computer) usage."

Another interesting stat is that more than half of those that do have a computer have one that is 3 year old or more. Jesus, I've got redundant computers/tablets that are younger than that!

Interaction with Defra and/or other government services were the most commonly reported uses of the farm computer. Online banking (49%) and sales/purchasing online (45%) were also said to feature highly (although it is unclear if by "sales/purchasing online" they thought that doing the shopping from Tesco and/or buying some new wellies off Amazon counted).

Does the fact that only 29% of farmers have a smartphone, and only 26% have one that they use for business, mean that farming apps are a waste of time? Or does it mean that there's a golden so far relatively untapped opportunity here?

This farmer was on his way to Cheltenham last week, and Tony McCoy was sat opposite him on the train. The farmer and McCoy got chatting and McCoy said "Look I don't normally do this but would you like the winner of the first race?" The farmer said "No thanks, I've only got a very small garden."