For the second year in a row, precision farming ranked high on dealers’ list of best bets for improving unit sales, according to Ag Equipment Intelligence’s 2021 Dealer Business Outlook & Trends report.

While the category lost its first place slot from last year’s report, it still ranked second among 21 different areas, with more than 93% of dealers betting on precision systems to remain the same or improve unit sales in 2021.

 But in the age of doing more with less, dealers are less optimistic with hiring additional precision staff in the coming year. Some 17.6% of U.S. dealers plan to add staff to this category in 2021, down from 19.1% reported in last year’s study.

About 80% of dealers anticipate no change in precision staff in the coming year, consistent with 2020, while about 3% forecast a reduction or reallocation of precision specialists, compared to less than 1% this year.

Precision specialist was the only staffing area dealers didn’t forecast an increase in hiring compared to 2020, among the 6 categories included in the 2021 study.

Breaking out the major farm equipment manufacturers’ precision hiring plans, the highest percentage of John Deere dealers plan to increase precision hiring in 2021. Nearly 43% plan to add specialists in the coming year, an increase of about 12% over 2020.  

New Holland dealers are also forecasting an increase in precision hires, doubling their outlook from a little more than 9% this year to about 18% in 2021.

However, both Deere and New Holland also had the highest percentage of dealers forecasting a reduction or reallocation of precision staff in 2021.

AGCO dealers forecast the biggest year-over-year decline with about 9% planning to add precision specialists next year, compared to 20% this year. Case IH dealers also expect hiring to slow on the precision side in 2021, with about 23% planning to add staff, compared to about 32% this year.

For more information and analysis from the 2021 AEI Dealer Business Outlook & Trend report, visit