2022 has been the biggest year so far for the Agworld global business since its inception in 2009, with more farms, agronomy businesses and ag retailers on Agworld than ever before. While there are many contributing factors to this outcome, in this article I wanted to explore some of the reasons, and what that tells us about the future.
2022 has also been a big year for many farm businesses and service providers through the impacts of floods, inflation, labour shortages, input supplies and volatile market pricing. The Covid pandemic experience is not over, and continues to impact the way we live and work.
Digital transformation and data-driven decision making
There have never been so many farmers moving to digital farm management with Agworld. Increasingly, agronomists and ag retailers understand the value they contribute in delivering digital plans, recommendations and other important information to their clients and customers on the same platform. Farmers also understand their need to have evidence of what they intend to do to manage their crops and pastures, and what they actually do. More opportunities are arising for on-farm information being required to manage the core business of farming, but also satisfy the information requirements for off-farm parties (financing, insurance) or market access driven by sustainability measures.
The business of crop production is a complex system of variables, often overshadowed by an uncontrollable environment. Successful communication in farm businesses is often about getting the simple things done well and at the right time, and having transparency across all of the contributors means consistency in doing these simple things well.
Generational change is also playing a significant part in digital transformation as the next, more digitally native generation take up management roles in farm businesses. Their comfort with the way digital technology works and can be implemented means an increase in the rate of digital adoption across many aspects of their business operation.
There have never been more reasons (high and uncertain input prices) to have quality, structured information to support the way that inputs are converted as efficiently as possible into outputs. The accountability that comes with creating a crop production plan that considers the likely agronomic factors to be managed for each farm and field, keeps those responsible for execution on track as the season unfolds. In 2022, we saw a 19% increase in Agworld farm records compared to the previous year, which reflects the increased understanding of the value of a well structured, accessible and relevant set of ag data.
As every year goes past, the standard that a digital solution in agriculture must meet to acquire and keep customers increases. Customers expect innovation and regular product improvement as well as system maintenance, performance and human-based support.
This all needs to be wrapped into a user-friendly experience that delivers tangible, repeatable value, no easy thing in a diverse crop production environment. Of course, this all comes at a cost, and to have a sustainable business, pricing needs to reflect the cost of development, maintenance, security, privacy, and support.
While 2022 has been the biggest year ever, we recognise there is always more work to be done. Consistent and repeated effort to focus and understand what is important to our customers will remain core to our actions. We will maintain first-class software engineering capability who are committed to code quality, and a dedicated team of people who educate and support our customers be successful in their exploration of digital farm management with Agworld.
So is 2023 the year to go digital? Well, for those that haven’t yet, there is no better time to start the journey and explore than now.
All the best for the season ahead.