Simple tech to help increase productivity
Michael Cobiac is a third generation farmer, whose family has worked his 600-hectare, Kingston SE, South Australia farm since the 1950s. When he purchased the farm from his family four years ago, the cattle operation was inefficient. Drawing on 20 years of research and development experience in the red meat industry, Michael made the decision to shift to strictly Angus beef. His aim was to take advantage of economies of scale to increase efficiency and productivity.
For Michael, “The grazing history, amount of feed on offer, and stocking rates are key to me being able to identify areas that are over-utilised, or not utilised enough.” He uses offline and cloud-based software from AgriWebb to “develop a grazing management plan to get better productivity out of paddocks.”
The grazing history, amount of feed on offer, and stocking rates are key to me being able to identify areas that are over-utilised, or not utilised enough.Michael Cobiac
Simple record-keeping with AgriWebb
Despite his stated ambition to use technology to increase efficiency and productivity on the 600-hectare beef operation, Michael does not spend an immense amount of time learning new technologies. When asked about his relationship with technology, he revealed that his “usage has decreased enormously. I understand the things that are important to me, but the wider application of technologies? Those are not relevant, and I haven’t got time for them honestly.”
What Michael does do is take “great comfort in knowing that I can easily and accurately record things that will help me make decisions down the path.” He has moved all of his recordkeeping to AgriWebb, as he knows that if he is putting in his data, AgriWebb will provide him with insights and information that he was otherwise not getting.
Using AgriWebb in the field, it’s easy to record mob movements between paddocks, medical treatments, and other events critical to his business’ success. Back in the office, AgriWebb automatically syncs to the farm’s secure cloud account, and delivers Michael valuable farm information that helps him make data-driven decisions.
I think it’s that ability to make a single data entry, and get information back out – there are just so many options that can come back to me. That’s what AgriWebb is to me – it’s a huge reward for a minimal effort.
An improved top pocket
Before AgriWebb, Michael took notes with pen and paper. On top of the fact that at times this was inconvenient and created inconsistencies in his records, he found it incredibly time consuming and difficult to derive information and insights from these records.
Michael knew he “had to keep records in order to both satisfy requirements for audits and accreditations, and monitor my business to make sure it’s going somewhere.” Paper record keeping was adequate for certain purposes, but the biggest problem with his old system was that he “wasn’t taking all those records that I was keeping and turning them into something useful.”
While his records were useful for audits, there wasn’t much else they did for his operation’s long term health.
AgriWebb certainly assists with Michael’s LPA and EU audits, but, more than anything, Michael uses the technology as a pocket consultant which helps him “identify more and more of those areas where we’ve got small gains to make. Combining all those small gains together is what is going to take us forward.”
As Michael explained, “An inefficient business, in terms of cost of production, is never going to go anywhere. I think something like AgriWebb gives us a much better ability to monitor our performance and make sure that we are as productive, or as profitable, as possible.”
Before AgriWebb, Michael’s response to skinny cows was to “feed them more hay – it wasn’t a lot more complicated than that. But now, it’s actually giving me a much more precise measure of the resources I have available to me, and how well I’m using them.” Tracking something as simple as paddock performance to identify under and over-performing paddocks is something he believes will drive his business forward.
Driving the farm forward
Michael regularly takes a step back to look at what really matters to his business. He believes that tracking key data points and metrics with AgriWebb, and then making insightful, data-driven decisions gives farmers a “longer and less difficult” working life. All farmers, big and small, can improve and drive their business forward.