Smart farming technology trends: Economic and environmental effects, labor impact, and adoption readiness

Athanasios T. Balafoutis*, Frits K. van Evert, Spyros Fountas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Farming faces challenges that increase the adverse effects on farms’ economics, labor, and the environment. Smart farming technologies (SFTs) are expected to assist in reverting this situation. In this work, 1064 SFTs were derived from scientific papers, research projects, and industrial products. They were classified by technology readiness level (TRL), typology, and field operation, and they were assessed for their economic, environmental, and labor impact, as well as their adoption readiness from end‐users. It was shown that scientific articles dealt with SFTs of lower TRL than research projects. In scientific articles, researchers investigated mostly recording technologies, while, in research projects, they focused primarily on farm management information systems and robotic/automation systems. Scouting technologies were the main SFT type in scientific papers and research projects, but variable rate application technologies were mostly located in commercial products. In scientific papers, there was limited analysis of economic, environmental, and labor impact of the SFTs under investigation, while, in research projects, these impacts were studied thoroughly. Further, in commercial SFTs, the focus was on economic impact and less on labor and environmental issues. With respect to adoption readiness, it was found that all of the factors to facilitate SFT adoption became more positive moving from SFTs in scientific papers to fully functional commercial SFTs, indicating that SFTs reach the market when most of these factors are addressed for the benefit of the farmers. This SFT analysis is expected to inform researchers on adapting their research, as well as help policy‐makers adjust their strategy toward digitized agriculture adoption and farmers with the current situation and future trends of SFTs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number743
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • Agricultural robots
  • Automated systems
  • Farm management information system
  • Guiding
  • Reacting
  • Recording
  • Smart farming technologies

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