Using Surveys to Overcome Obstacles to Specialty Crop Industry Adoption of Automated Technologies
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Using Surveys to Overcome Obstacles to Specialty Crop Industry Adoption of Automated Technologies

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Presentation at ASABE 2010 Annual Meeting

Presentation at ASABE 2010 Annual Meeting

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Using Surveys to Overcome Obstacles to Specialty Crop Industry Adoption of Automated Technologies Using Surveys to Overcome Obstacles to Specialty Crop Industry Adoption of Automated Technologies Presentation Transcript

  • Using Surveys to Overcome Obstacles to Specialty Crop Industry Adoption ofAutomated Technologies
    Katie Ellis, Tara Baugher, Karen Lewis, and Gwen Hoheisel
    Penn State University
    Washington State University
  • Comprehensive Automation for Specialty Crops (CASC)
    Multidisciplinary project aimed at improving tree fruit production efficiency
    Engineering/robotics, horticulture, entomology, plant pathology
    Variety of new techniques & equipment
    Collaborators:
    Universities & Government
    PSU, CMU, Purdue, WSU, OSU, USDA
    Industry
    Growers & Packers (involvement in advisory panel)
    CASC
  • Comprehensive Automation for Specialty Crops
    Labor Reduction
    Crop Assessment
    Environmental Monitoring
    Sociological Implications
    Outreach
    Commercialization
  • Assess specific stakeholder concerns early
    Non-threatening, confidential
    Help outreach efforts – put in context applicable to interests of each group
    Determine differences in regional attitudes & practices
    Help decrease technology adoption lag times and speed up rollout
    See how farm size/revenue affect potential adoption
    Why Bother with Socioeconomic Data?
  • 8 yr lag to early adoption/15 yrs to full adoption
    Adoption of New Ag Technologies
    From Alston, Norton, and Pardey
    Science Under Scarcity,1995.
  • Participant’s farm enterprise information
    Needs/potentials for automation and sensor tech in specialty crops
    Potential benefits of harvest assist technology
    Potential benefits of automated disease detection & pest monitoring
    Potential benefits of automation for monitoring plant stress
    Benefits of fully automated harvest
    Specific orchard planting system information
    Full Survey Themes
  • Full Socioeconomic Survey & TurningPoint Instant Response Surveys
    Mid-Atlantic Fruit & Vegetable Convention
  • Paper surveys: 65 (PA), 8 (NY); 75% Owners
    72% participation in PA
    TurningPoint survey participants:
    25 (PA), 36 (NY); Owners (NY: 72%, PA: 43%)
    Greatest need: harvesting, spraying, monitoring yield, quality, plant/soil/water/nutrient status
    Moderate needs in thinning, tree training, and pruning
    Low need for technological advancement in mowing
    Eastern Surveys
  • East:Acreage and Annual Gross Revenue
  • Improve precision & efficiency:
    Fruit thinning*
    Harvesting*
    Pruning
    Spraying
    Improve environmental
    stewardship & sustainability:
    Spraying*
    Thinning
    Monitoring water & nutrient status
    Least need: tree training, mowing
    Areas of Greatest Need
    Highest need scores
  • Anticipated Benefits of Harvest Assist
    Increased workforce productivity
    Improved management of harvest operations
    Reduced costs
    Other ideas:
    Increased labor pool by eliminating heavy lifting
    Better quality fruit (faster shipment to consumers)
    Improved employee health
  • Perceived obstacles to adoption of harvest assist
  • Equipment Price Justification
    Maximum equipment price justified by 30-40% increase in efficiency of harvest employees
    Median: $35,000
    Maximum equipment price justified by 10-15% increase in fruit packout
    Median: $25,000
    Significant correlation between participant’s annual orchard revenue and the maximum price justified for harvest efficiency (ρ = 0.509, df = 50, I = 0.0002)
  • Automated Insect/Disease Monitoring
    79% agreed that a fire blight vision & detection system would help in removing blighted shoots and avoiding tree loss
    Most indicated that they would, at minimum, use the same number of insect traps if reliable imaging systems were available
    Many would also
    increase the number of traps,
    up to 70 additional units per pest
  • Implications
    Orchards with higher annual revenues have a higher justifiable price point and are more likely to be early adopters
    Internal fruit feeder pressure in the East is generally low; however, nearly 100% of respondents that regularly trap are willing to try the same number of automated traps
    Advanced technologies in tree training & mowing are lowest in priority for those surveyed
  • Full Socioeconomic Survey
    Washington State Hort. Assn. NW Hort Expo
  • Western Survey
    Paper surveys: 38 Respondents; 63% Owners
    Greatest need: thinning, spraying, monitoring water/nutrient status
    Moderate needs in harvesting, monitoring crop status
    Low need for technological
    advancement in tree training,
    pruning, and mowing
  • West:Acreage and Annual Gross Revenue
  • Anticipated Benefits of Harvest Assist
    Increased workforce productivity
    Improved management of harvest operations
    Reduced need for steady workforce
    Compared to Eastern growers, Western growers anticipate fewer benefits in terms of cost but more in terms of labor
  • Equipment Price Justification
    Maximum equipment price justified by 30-40% increase in efficiency of harvest employees
    Median: $35,000
    Maximum equipment price justified by 10-15% increase in fruit packout
    Median: $55,000
    Same in the East
    Much higher than in the East ($25,000)
  • Automated Insect/Disease Monitoring
    83% agreed that a fire blight vision & detection system would help in removing blighted shoots and avoiding tree loss
    As in the East, most indicated that they would, at minimum, use the same number of insect traps if reliable imaging systems were available
    Percentage of participants anticipating possible obstacles with imaging/sensor technologies for monitoring insects
  • Perceived obstacles to adoption of fully automated harvest
    Results similar to opinions from the Mid-Atlantic meeting
  • Perceived benefits of visioning technologies* for crop projections
    Much lower than in the East
    *Technologies under development for eventual fully automated harvest
  • Other Regional Implications
    Western and Eastern growers indicated differences in irrigation concerns and justifiable price points for harvest-assist technology
    Suggests a benefit in using region-specific outreach topics to emphasize local needs for some topics
    Western growers with larger pack-and-ship operations associate a greater benefit with packout improvement
    Smaller Eastern retail-based businesses would relate better to emphasis on reduced labor costs and fruit quality improvement
    Western growers were also particularly interested in sensor data for crop projections, which may be partly due to recent disparities between projected and actual crops
  • Fine tune outreach efforts in each region
    Videos and fact sheets
    Effectively address cost concerns (early!) through value proposition seminars & software
    Thorough field-testing of equipment in a variety of grower landscapes
    Survey participant comments: Orchard slope/aspect, groundhog holes, etc.
    Emphasis on reliable, user-friendly equipment
    Early involvement of commercialization partners not a major concern
    How to Use This Information for CASC
  • This work is supported by the US Department of Agriculture under the Specialty Crop Research Initiative, award number 2008-51180-04876.
    We acknowledge the contributions of N. Lehrer, D. Ames, and the Comprehensive Automation for Specialty Crops project team for input on the survey questions.
    Acknowledgments
    Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences research, extension, and resident education programs are funded in part by Pennsylvania counties, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    Where trade names appear, no discrimination is intended, and no endorsements by Penn State Cooperative Extension is implied.
    This publication is available in alternative media on request.
    The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state or federal authorities. It is the policy of the University to maintain an academic and work environment free of discrimination, including harassment. The Pennsylvania State University prohibits discrimination and harassment against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or veteran status. Discrimination or harassment against faculty, staff, or students will not be tolerated at The Pennsylvania State University. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to the Affirmative Action Director, The Pennsylvania State University, 328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802-5901; Tel 814-865-4700/V, 814-863-1150/TTY.