2016 Precision Farming Dealer Summit — Roundtable #8

A Precision Farming Dealer Staff Report

Confusion over the current and future role of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) in the ag industry persists and many dealers at this roundtable discussion struggled to see how this technology fits in their product mix. Dealers say that while they aren’t seeing high margins on UAV sales (one dealer suggests that 20% margin was the average), carrying the product helps bring new customers into the dealership, including those unconnected to the ag industry.

One dealer sold a UAV to an electrical company to check power lines. Others said they sold UAV systems to everyone from bankers to roofers to insurance agencies.

The number one challenge dealers say they face when working with UAVs is not the technology, but stitching together and processing the data it gathers. While it may only take 15 minutes for growers to survey their land with a UAV, dealers say it can take at least 2 hours to then process the data.

One dealer suggests resolving this by adding extra help at the dealership during summer months to assist in processing aerial data for customers. Dealers say that while the technology has come a long way, it still has room for improvement

“We all agree that UAVs are not the silver bullet to all of our problems in agriculture,” says roundtable moderator Adam Shepard of JD Equipment Co. in Hillard, Ohio. “They are simply another tool in the toolbox. When used correctly, there’s potential to help our customers agronomically.”

Read full coverage of the Precision Farming Dealer Summit presentations, from how to recruit and retain precision employees, to developing a standalone precision business, to managing customers’ data, in the March 2016 issue of Farm Equipment.

Roundtable Discussion Topics

1. Keeping Precision Employees Productive Year Round
2. Troubleshooting Technology: Conquering Compatibility Problems
3. Putting on a Successful Precision Ag Field Day
4. How to Structure Your Precision Internships
5. Strategies for Selling Used Precision Equipment
6. Making the Most of Online Sales Opportunities
7. Spreading Precision Workflow Across Departments
8. UAVs: Practical Precision Tools or Toys? (currently viewing)
9. Tech Support: Where Can Manufacturers Improve?
10. Marketing: Where Will I Get the Most Bang for My Buck?