“Farm management software” covers the range of apps, websites and computer programs built for the farming sector. It helps farmers plan, record and analyse activities on their property and unlock the land’s true potential.
The last few years have seen extraordinary growth in the farm software sector, and it can be hard to sort the wheat from the chaff. The most valuable software simplifies day-to-day operations and provides data-driven insights for a more profitable and efficient business. It can also save farmers hours in the office – meaning they can focus on the goals that made them passionate about farming in the first place.
Who needs farm management software?
There can be a perception farm management software is only for large-scale farming operations. People think small or family farms won’t see enough profit from its implementation. At the other end of the scale, corporate farms have invested a lot of time and money in complex, cumbersome systems. They can turn a blind eye to benefits that come from updating farm management systems.
Simply put, farm management software has an important role to play in every modern farming operation. Unfortunately, a lot of farmers are apprehensive about using it because of bad experiences in the past. Clumsy software meant spending more time in front of a computer instead of in the field. Often, it didn’t seem worth the hassle.
Thankfully, there is a new generation of farm management software. Mobile apps mean you aren’t chained to the office, while cloud-based computing means your farm records are always with you.
- You’re struggling to maintain accurate farm records
- You’d like to get a firm understanding of your farm’s financial position
- You want to make important management decisions, backed by data
- You want to record and monitor farm activities in real time
- You’d like to increase production and see more profits
- You want to prepare for inspections with ease
Types of farm management software
Precision agriculture software
A market leader in precision agriculture software is John Deere. Its GPS-based guidance systems for machinery mean better fuel economy and improved application rates of seed and chemicals. Through its online portal and mobile apps, you can remotely locate your fleet and view machine information such as diagnostics trouble codes. You’re also able to monitor completed field activities, to determine the quality of each field for a given operation like seeding or harvest. It all adds up to more significant insights, for improved logistics and productivity.
Commodity management software
Most farm management software focuses on the agriculture side of agribusiness; not so Primetics, which makes software designed to manage commodity inventories to aid in more effective marketing and sales. Other services include contract management and tracking software that ensures everyone in the supply chain knows where deliveries are.
Broadacre cropping software
For agronomists and cropping farmers to work well together, they need to be on the same page – or the same app. Agworld makes collaboration simple, with data capture tools, farm maps and document management just a few of the features helping with efficiency.
Livestock and mixed farming software
Farm record keeping is easier than ever, thanks to app-based software. With AgriWebb, you can keep track of everything from weight gains and animal treatments through to mob movements, using intuitive drag-and-drop technology. Farmers can easily create their biosecurity plans, operational calendars and directly submit eNVD forms, via the AgriWebb Web App.
Budgeting and forecasting software
There’s more to accounting software than Xero (though you do want your farm management software to be compatible with it). Figured is budgeting and forecasting software that gives you financial, stock and crop information in a single place. It means the farming team – farmers, accountants and bankers – can work together from the same data, in real time, wherever they are.
Must-haves for all farm management software
Works on mobile and desktop
Farm management software should help you spend less time in the office. To that end, the best farm management software companies deliver solutions that are accessible on mobile devices as well as desktop computers.
Offline and online capabilities
Even if you have “four-bar” network coverage, services crash. Software needs to operate when you’re offline, so you aren’t splitting records between your notebook and mobile.
Ease of use
If you need to be a tech expert to understand the software you’re using, it’s not good software. With clear instructions and initial guidance, you should be able to navigate the software without any dramas. If not, you’re going to put it down and never pick it up again.
Software providers should ensure your data is safe within the system and isn’t used in any way you don’t approve of. Be wary if they can’t give guarantees about protecting the privacy of your data.
Real-time data sharing
It’s essential that farm management software supports multiple users, so various farm workers can input data they record, tasks they complete or jobs that need doing. This puts everyone on the same page, prevents double handling and increases productivity.
Farm management software success stories
Sulwyn Jenkins tends to more than 1,500 sheep on Ffosyficer Farm, on the west coast of Wales. He found that using AgriWebb revolutionised his record keeping. With the AgriWebb app on his mobile, any information he records through the day is synced to his AgriWebb cloud account. Now he can rest assured that his records are always accurate and up to date.
Importantly, Sulwyn only has to hit a few buttons to pull up reports about his farm operations. That’s a valuable time saver, whether you’re reporting to a farm manager or a farm inspector. “All that information is just on the phone, and the map is there, so it’s very simple for anyone to understand,” Selwyn says.
James Smith and his wife farm 134 acres in Carmarthenshire, South West Wales, and also hold down full-time jobs. It could be an impossible task, but life has become much more manageable since they started using AgriWebb, which means James can update records on his mobile. “My time on the farm is limited, so when I am there, I don’t want to be worried about paperwork,” James says. “What I like is, by the time my sheep have gone through the handling system, my records are done, and I can move on to the next job.” It’s not just time James is saving – he says keeping better track of his inventory through AgriWebb has saved him hundreds of pounds.
Australian cotton grower Steve McVeigh adopted farm management software to keep track of his two farms outside Dalby, Queensland, 50-kilometres apart. He decided to go with Agworld, after seeing his agronomist at Dalby Rural Supplies use the system. Now, it’s simple for them to collaborate: “It really was a no-brainer,” he says of the switch to digital.