A recent poll of farmers conducted by the National Farm Research Unit (NFRU) has found that the majority of livestock farmers are using the Internet (55%). A higher percentage of dairy farmers used the Internet (59%) compared to sheep (52%) or beef farmers (54%).
Of those livestock farmers who are using the Internet, 85% now have broadband, compared with just 67% three years ago. The percentage of farmers with broadband was similar for beef (85%), dairy (86%) and sheep farmers (84%).
The survey showed that 45% of livestock farmers had gone on-line to get information about farm inputs, with more dairy farmers using this as a source of information (49%). Just 42% of sheep farmers used the Internet for information.
Two out of five livestock farmers (40%) reported that they have bought some farm inputs on-line, with no differences between the different types of livestock farmers.
In the South West 58% of livestock farmers reported that they used the Internet, with 89% of them enjoying broadband connections. This is a slightly higher percentage than the national figure. Three years ago fewer livestock farmers in the region had broadband (69%).
Over 48% of South West farmers said that they had used the Internet to get information on farm inputs and 40% said that they had already bought some farm inputs on-line. The survey indicates an increasing trend in the use of the Internet for information and purchasing, as three years ago 41% of livestock farmers looked for information on-line, but 25% had used it for purchasing purposes.