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Farm operators’ experiences of advanced technology and automation in Swedish agriculture: a pilot study
- Lunner-Kolstrup, Christina, Hörndahl, Torsten, Karttunen, Janne P.
- Journal of agromedicine 2018 v.23 no.3 pp. 215-226
- automation, dairy farming, farm operators, farms, sleep deprivation, Sweden
- This pilot study investigated how farm operators use and experience working with advanced farm technology and automated systems. The study participants included 10 farm operators at 4 modern and technically well-equipped arable and dairy farms. The informants reported that the technology allowed for more accuracy and efficiency in daily work, made the work less physically strenuous, and gave more time for leisure. The challenges lay in systems and programs not being compatible and difficulties in interpreting generated data. At times, the technology was considered complex or difficult to handle and operate. It was also considered mentally stressful when it did not work as expected. Nightly alarms causing disturbed sleep and work time, and tasks losing some of their clear and natural starts and ends were the most challenging issues on dairy farms. Malfunctions disturbed the daily work, especially when spare parts or service technicians were unavailable. The informants concluded that advanced farm technology and automated systems had both positive and negative sides. They reported no consistent mental strain caused by the technology and considered it a necessity for their future work. However, technology and automated systems must be functional, user-friendly, and reliable to avoid imposing potential mental strain.