Figures revealed by new research into technology in the agricultural sector show that some 82% of farmers who own smartphones (accounting for the vast majority of farmers) use their devices for checking the news.
The research was conducted on behalf of the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) by data specialist Amárach and Skillnet Ireland.
This figure was revealed to have been the second most often reported use for smartphones among farmers, behind only checking the weather, for which 93% of smartphone-using farmers utilised their devices for.
The research found “widespread use” of smartphones for daily farming activities, with 48% of farmers saying they used their smartphones for farm records management.
This figure was highest among dairy farmers, with 7 out of every 10 using their smartphones for this purpose.
Apart from smartphones, 69% of farmers surveyed said they use a laptop or PC; 38% said they used a tablet or iPad; while 2% of farmers said they used neither of these or a smartphone.
Usage of these devices was closely tied to technology confidence, the report discovered.
In terms of technology confidence, some 49% of farmers surveyed said they were either confident or very confident in technology use, while 39% said they had average confidence. 12% said they were either not really confident or not very confident.
For those farmers under the age of 35, 88% of them reported themselves as being confident. For farmers aged 35 to 44, this figure dropped slightly to 74%.
The statistics found that tillage farmers were more likely then farmers in other sectors to claim confidence in technology usage, with 66% of them reporting as such.
According to the research, technology-confident farmers were more likely to: have completed digital farm training (60% completed training); already be using technology (54% using technology); and invest in farming technologies in the future (59% likely to invest).