Silke Hüttel is a professor in the field of Agricultural Economics at Bonn University, before she was professor at Rostock University and junior professor at Humboldt-Universität in Berlin, Germany. Her research interests cover production economics, productivity and efficiency analysis, thereby covering the interrelation of economic and ecological outputs, farm investments under uncertainty and climate change, and farms’ technology adoption behavior. Together with Professor Michael Leyer, he holds the chair of service operations at Rostock University, she shares interest in behavioral aspects and the social dimension in complex decision-making of farmers; together they will present results from a study of German farmers adoption behavior for digital fertilization systems that offer a high potential for advancing sustainable agri-food systems.
Precision farming systems promise a highly efficient resource use reducing cost for farmers and contributing to the preservation of the environment. A major obstacle, however, in such systems dissemination is the reluctant adoption by farmers. Prior work is suggesting that mainly knowledge or missing resources for investment are barriers, while social norms are rarely addressed for precision farming systems. We adopt the reasoned action approach including behavioral, social, and control aspects to analyze intentions and actual use of sustainable digital fertilization methods. Based on a German sample of farmers, we find that social norm is the major predictor, while behavioral and control aspects surprisingly are not relevant at all. The results contribute to the understanding of what drives farmers in adopting precision farming systems on a theoretical basis and highlight the importance of considering social norms in increasing adoption.