Orchard margins in Australia have been slowly decreasing over the past 40 years, leading to orchards becoming increasingly more volume driven. With no digitised record keeping system in place, the McNab family did not have a clear understanding of their cost of production and margin by variety.
The team at Pretty Prairie Farms were utilizing a legacy farm management system, but it did not provide any visibility to the team involved in creating the data. Because of this, individual team members in the field were struggling to see value in the data they entered when completing the job, resulting in sub-optimal data quality. The lack of visibility also prevented team members from utilizing the data they created to help answer questions while working in the field.
Kagome produces a range of food crops that either get sold directly to consumers via the food retail channel, or that get processed in the Kagome factory in Echuca. Because of this, Kagome needs to accurately capture all input data in order to mitigate potential risks to the food supply chain. Up until 2016, Kagome relied on a paper-based system for record keeping.
The Perks family used to only have the input recommendations from their agronomist written down on paper and would have to take this along to the job. The information on paper lacked supporting data such as chemical labels or SDSs and would easily get lost or misinterpreted, potentially resulting in costly errors.
Ashton Hood used to receive his pre-season cropping plan from agronomist James Bee, Elders Albany, as PDF or paper copy, just like his observations and recommendations during the season. This system however had a number of limitations for Ashton as he wasn’t able to utilize the data to run a variety planning scenarios or use the recommendations as foundations for his farm records.
Kieran Allison previously used manual spray sheets to keep a record of every application on his fields throughout the season. With more than 13 passes performed each season, this was a difficult and labour intensive task with a very messy ‘mountain of paper’ as result at the end of the year. Kieran also got audited for the Canola ISCC program while still using manual spray sheets, which resulted in a lot of extra work for both the auditors and Kieran.
Running a large mixed farming operation with two full-time staff, Jay Robertson has always been focused on simplifying and automating as many tasks as possible. With one of his staff taking care of the majority of the spray applications, Jay needed a better way to keep spray records than just writing them in a book in order to be sure that accurate records are kept and that they’re easily traceable when needed.
Frankland Rural Agronomist Tim Trezise used to utilise a legacy software solution to create cropping plans for his agronomy clients, but wanted to be able to do more with his software. Tim needed a platform that is accessible in the field and that also allows growers to create farm records on their end at the same time.
Nutrien agronomist Cassidy Chambers is based in Gnowangerup, WA but provides agronomic services to Nutrien clients of the Lake Grace and Tambellup branches as well. Some growers also get serviced by a number of different Nutrien agronomists, depending on availability and other factors.
With the Stirling Ranges Beef team comprising 10 people, who all need to communicate with each other, as well as with agronomists and other farming partners, there is an obvious need for a data platform to keep everyone on the same page and create awareness across the farm.
When Tom Curnow moved back to the family farm in 2016 and immediately started managing all farming related activities, he needed instant access to as much historical field data as possible in order to make the best possible crop management decisions.
Clinton Mullan previously utilised a legacy technology provider to create plans for his agronomy clients, but this system was not cloud-based and was not available in-field; making in-season decision making challenging.
Agronomy Focus director and Senior Agronomist Quenten Knight provides agronomic consultancy services to over 40 growers who grow a combined 200,000+ hectares of crops each year. For each of these growers it is critical to have as much accurate data available on-time, in order to make the best crop-management decisions throughout the season.
JD Farms has had a number of very wet seasons in a row, causing severe flooding in the short term, and the soil to become more alkaline in the medium to long term. The Strand & Durheim families now have to try new crops and novel crop management methods in order to find the most profitable way to farm the soil in its new condition. They knew that they needed a sophisticated platform to create plans and budgets and record their results, in order to find the best way to utilize these fields moving forward.
Kalcevic Farms used to capture all input records on paper and then enter these into a spreadsheet at a later stage, which didn’t provide any options for tracking sprayer analytics or improved decision making during the season. Kalcevic Farms also received yield maps from its harvest machinery every year, but were unable to utilize them in an integrated analysis process.
Up until 2013, Anna Binna Farms relied solely on a pen and paper system for their farm records. This system did not fit well with the abilities of all team members and didn’t offer owner Ben Wundersitz a good way to track important information such as withholding periods, amount of fertilizer or chemicals that need to be purchased or any other spray-related information.
When Nathan Stewart decided to start his own agronomic consultancy organization, he soon realized that he needed sophisticated digital tools to help set himself apart from the competition. Nathan looked for a tool that would help him with his daily work as an agronomist as well as allow him to scale his business and offer additional services to his clients.
Scott and Luke Clark were using a legacy system to record their in-field operations, but were looking for a system that would make their record keeping easier and less time-consuming. They also wanted to have a ‘real time’ dataset that showed costs, gross-margins and other key metrics in order to improve planning and decision making.
The Jericho family used to rely on written records with multiple books in their tractors and spray rigs, and because of this system were unable to see gross margins per field or property. They also had no way of easily finding historical records of field operations or other important field-related information.
When Tristan Baldock came home to join his family on the farm, he knew they needed a tool to capture data in a one-touch electronic format that everyone could access, so they all know exactly what happens in the field. Tristan also realised that the family needed more reports from their farm data in order to be able to make more transparent management decisions. At the same time, Tristan’s father, Graeme, had been using a legacy system but was already exploring the use of Agworld together with their agronomist.
The Maitland family used legacy farm management software but this wasn’t used effectively within the business as it was not user friendly. At the same time, the food production and export focus of the business required accurate records be kept so that critical information can easily be shared with relevant authorities, exporters and final consumers.
Brendan and Claire Booth started farming as first-generation farmers in 2012. They soon realised that as they didn’t have generations of experience and knowledge to fall back on, they needed to work as smart and hard as possible. In order to achieve this, they knew they had to collect and use all important farm data to their advantage.
Jack Phillips, owner and manager of J F Phillips Farms, realized he needed a farm record keeping platform that allows him to keep track of everything that happens on his farm. What Jack didn’t want however, was to offer seed, chemical and fertilizer companies or equipment suppliers any kind of transparency into his data, so they could use this data to his disadvantage.
Woolf Farming’s permanent crop manager, Kevin Visser, wanted to find a way to work closer with his agronomist and, at the same time, recognized that he needed a digital tool that could help him create better plans and reports than what he was used to.
When one of Colusa County Farm Supply’s (CCFS) growers showed agronomist Jim Pingrey what Agworld looks like and how it can help farmers as well as agronomists, Jim and his colleagues became interested in how it could improve the growers forecast with chemical and fertility management.
Emerald Farms partner and general manager Leon Etchepare was struggling to keep track of all the information and tasks that were being performed on his farm in Maxwell, CA. As he was trying to achieve more vertical integration of his farming operation, he knew that he needed a centralized platform that would deliver him the information he needed, when he needed it.
The Roberts’ family farming operation captured data, but mainly in excel spreadsheets together with a total of 55 separate apps. When Ben Roberts joined the family farm, he was determined to make the process of capturing and utilizing data easier and derive more value from the farm data in the end.
Yenda Producers Co-operative used to record their agronomic data by writing it down first and then later entering it in a computer. This way of handling data caused a lot of extra work due to double handling and did not offer an easy way to go back into historic data and find information when they needed it. Also, as a wide variety of both summer and winter crops get grown by Yenda Prods’ growers in overlapping seasons, there is no ‘slow time’ and thus the agronomists had a need to plan accurately and rapidly.
When Ben VanDyke started to grow food crops next to his existing grass seed operation, he found that he needed a better way to track his input applications for certification purposes. VanDyke Farms is also surrounded in the immediate area by sensitive crops, which necessitates a high degree of caution when spraying and accurate input application tracking to prevent spray drift from occurring.
Rural Management Strategies (RMS), used a legacy system but were looking to improve efficiencies and change to a system where they could share data more rapidly and where their clients could see and update the plan to actuals in real-time, so that the RMS advisor could follow exactly what was happening in the field.
David Boersma used to spend a lot of time at the end of every month sorting out the jobs that needed to be billed out to his clients for that month. He had to look through eight hand-written books to find out which jobs everyone had performed and worried that jobs would still get missed.
Hemp is a relatively new crop for most growers and not much research on varieties, production and inputs has been published. Hemp is a bio-accumulator, meaning that the plant naturally draws toxins from the soil, and it easily absorbs drifting pesticides. Hemp also utilizes high levels of nutrients and therefore requires skilful nutrition management.
Up until 2016, Lance Funk Farms was using multiple legacy software systems for precision functionality, but none of these systems offered any record keeping ability. In order to organize the farming operation with up to 250 employees in peak season, management had to rely on spreadsheets.
The Toscan family grows a variety of crops and needed a simple way to create records of the spraying operations that take place in each individual crop and field. Prunes form part of their operation and they therefore need to be able to supply accurate records of exactly what inputs have been applied at any given time during the season for food certification purposes.
When Javier Lopez decided to change from retail agronomy and start his own agronomic consulting business, he wanted to embrace and utilize new technologies that would benefit both him and his clients. Over half of Treskilion Management’s new clients were dairy farms, which need to particularly focus on complying with nutritional regulations.
Barenbrug, one of Australia’s largest seed companies, used to do a lot of double handling of information and struggled to keep track of all activities performed on each trial. Barenbrug’s agronomists also were not able to access all historical information when they needed it and instead had to go back to their office and work through paper records in order to find the information required.
Hough Farms was using legacy farm management software but when that company was sold to a large input supplier, they wanted to make sure their farm data was stored with an independent party instead. Hough Farms were also looking for a solution with better reporting capabilities to make data-driven decisions to help manage the business.
Warwick and Di Holding were searching for a system they could use to keep accurate records for their farming operation without creating a large additional burden of work. They also wanted to be able to see accurate financial cropping results for their operation, Pontara Grain, in order to guide them in making more profitable decisions in the future.
Allan Brothers manage a large number of orchards as part of their fruit growing, packing and shipping operation. With their Yakima Valley Orchards comprising over 700 individual blocks of apples, cherries and grapes, they realized a sophisticated digital solution was needed to track their inputs and operations.
Matt and Dan Lane run their 7,500-hectare farming operation, Erin Vale Farming, together with a number of staff and with advice from an agronomist. Because of the sheer scale of the operation, communication between all the different stakeholders was becoming increasingly difficult and at the same time becoming more important.
Froerer Farms grows a range of produce that gets sold to consumers either directly or via retail partners. In order to guarantee the quality and safety of these food products, the Froerer family realized that they had to be able to accurately document the growing process and all the inputs they use on their farm.
K·Coe Isom’s AgKnowledge team aims to improve their service offerings to their grower clients by moving towards a more dynamic way of communication. By improving their way of communicating they want to be able to easily create improved metrics on a more detailed level for their growers to empower them to make more profitable decisions.
The Crozier family produces carrots, potatoes and onions for New Zealand based wholesalers and retailers as well as export. In order to remain NZGAP certified, they have to keep very accurate spray records. They used to do everything on paper but realised that they had to start digitising this process in order to simplify their information flow.
The Pye Group is a large and diversified family agricultural operation that previously had no accurate visibility into the profitability and viability of individual fields. The business managers did not know whether or not certain crops or fields were profitable and neither did they know the exact cost involved in a specific application or operation.
Wairakaia Partnership used to run on spreadsheets but cropping manager and co-owner Bruce Graham got tired of having to retrospectively enter all his data back in the office at night, instead of being able to do so in the field. Bruce also was not able to access his farm data when he needed it most: in the field.
Payne Brothers Ranches saw an increasing amount of ag data coming towards them with no way to capture and handle it. The data comes from different sources such as independent PCA’s, soil reports and tissues analysis, among others. Bob and Bill Payne wanted to be able to have all their data in one spot so they could capitalize on it.
The Elders agronomy team aims to provide a high-quality service to their clients that helps these growers be as profitable as possible. Elders were looking for a digital platform that enables their agronomists to provide a consistent service where agronomists can collaborate with their growers. Elders also wanted to make sure that any software they implemented would be useful for their clients to adopt as well.
CQ Ag Services were looking for a platform they could use to improve both internal and external communication. They wanted to be able to store their observations and recommendations in such a way that all agronomists and their clients have access.
Alturas Ranches used to use field averages for their seasonal reports. Increasingly however, they realized the limited scope of the dataset available to them meant they were not able to use the data to influence their decision-making processes.
Lilliput Ag grows a variety of crops and produces seed for sister-business Baker Seed Co. Lilliput Ag looked to adopt a newer recording platform linked to the cloud to try and track production data. Co-owners Andrew & Sue Russell felt that they had to be able to connect production data to his finance software in order to remain competitive.
Dalby, QLD, cotton grower Steve McVeigh used to have a paper-based administration but realised that, with farming two geographically separated properties, he needed to change his systems in order to have critical information available at all times.
McGregor Gourlay as an organisation used a legacy digital ag solution for their recommendations but was unable to turn this into an integrated approach across the company. They were at the same time looking for a way to provide more ability to forecast to their merchandise managers through increase visibility.
Gillieston Fresh Produce grows tomatoes for wholesalers on the East Coast of Australia but were not able to accurately track nutrition and other inputs applied to each field or record the cost of production and profit for a specific field.
Up until 2015 Valley Agronomics was using legacy software that did not fulfill the needs of the organisation. The agronomy team was not happy with the tools they had, and they did not offer any opportunity for client interaction either.
As agronomist for 22 broadacre growers that all grow winter crops in the same district, Bruce Larcombe experiences extreme peaks and troughs in his workload throughout the season.
In his work as an agronomist, Ruaan Du Plessis realised that higher crop monitoring requirements combined with larger orchard sizes and an increased need for information by growers necessitated a new approach to data accessibility and transparency.
The Jansz Parish vineyard produces a variety of wine and needed a better solution to gain insight into the detailed cost per hectare. It also wanted to produce accurate production budgets for future seasons without adding extra layers of administration and complexity.
In 2014, Drew Bell with Coleman Ag recognized the need to start collecting farm records electronically and in the field, by the people performing the actual applications, instead of behind a desktop in an office. The main drivers for this need were state regulations that enforce pesticide application tracking and to provide workers with accurate information about re-entry intervals after these applications.
Junior Loza was using Excel to keep track of his field applications and costs but was not able to easily run reports or identify his agronomic costs per field, variety or acre. Junior also did not have a tool to help him manage his workforce, up to 40 people in peak season, and ensure that everyone was involved in recording all of the job details.
Nathan Soulsby needed to provide integrated agronomy service to BettaCrop clients, which includes their planning, budgeting, scouting and record keeping. Rolf Malmo was new to cropping and needed visibility into his financial performance that he could also take to his bank and other service providers.
Ryan, Richard and Chad Gargas were looking at adopting new technology to improve their business practices without having to use a range of different programs for different parts of the business.
Daly Potato Co. leases land to grow potatoes but is not sure of the exact returns of this leased country. As producers of food products that are sold to consumers as-is, auditors require accurate records of inputs used in the growing process.
Valley Agronomics was looking for a tool that would empower their agronomists to offer better services and outcomes to their grower customers. Grower, Luke Adams, was looking for a better way to work with his trusted advisor, reduce his risks, and keep accurate records.
James Reamer had already managed succession planning from a land and asset point of view, but knew there is a lot more to pass on than just the asset. Jamie, his daughter, wanted to help facilitate the knowledge and experience transfer as quickly and effectively as possible and knew a digital platform was the best opportunity to do so. Jamie also knew that she needed to be in the field to really learn the farm’s subtleties and be of the greatest value to the business.
Vann Brothers has seen rapid growth of their almond orchard as part of their vertically integrated operation. A growing team, new legislation and an increased demand for transparency from the end-consumers of their product meant that old record keeping methods were no longer viable.
Hassad Australia encountered difficulties in consistently managing 9 properties spanning over 100.000 hectares across four Australian states.
With running a large farming operation spread over multiple properties and with up to 25 staff members involved, Matt Lane was looking to improve on-farm communication in order prevent issues and communication errors from arising.
Landmark Agronomist Grant Thompson consults to over 20 growers each year and needed a way to record key production information so that he could easily share it with both his growers and his merchandise managers.