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.
Quenten adopted the Agworld platform into his agronomy organization in 2010 as the first agronomist to use Agworld commercially. Quenten and agronomist Nicky Tresoriero now use Agworld on a daily basis for their agronomist activities, and over 50% of their grower clients actively collaborate on the Agworld Platform with them to record all their in-field data from operations throughout the season.
By using the Agworld Platform for the storage and dissemination of all farm data between Agronomy Focus and its grower clients, everyone involved in making cropping decisions and executing on recommendations has full visibility of all critical information at all times. Because of this increased visibility, better decisions are formed throughout the season, from planning through to harvest, and errors in execution are prevented.
Quenten Knight started his own agronomic consultancy business, now called Agronomy Focus, in 2004. Fast forward to 2021 and, together with Agronomist Nicky Tesoriero, Quenten provides agronomic consulting services to over 40 growers who grow a combined 200,000+ hectares of crops each year. Based in Esperance, WA, Agronomy Focus provides its services to growers in the Esperance, Jerramungup and Ravensthorpe shires. Cropping in this area predominantly revolves around cereals such as wheat and barley, oilseeds like canola, and pulses such as field peas, lentils faba beans and vetch, while some growers keep livestock as well.
Quenten, Agworld user ID ‘AU-10’, was the first agronomist to start using Agworld in 2010: “I started off by using the Agworld digital pen to create my recommendations, which was really revolutionary back then, but the big step for me was when iPads became commercially available and Agworld was released in the Appstore.” Says Quenten. “We chose Agworld to help us digitise information, and that’s been really helpful for getting information into the growers’ hands. Both during the planning process and during the season when I make recommendations and give them directions, Agworld is what helps us cross-load information as efficiently as possible.”
Field history at your fingertips
As Quenten has been using Agworld for over a decade, a large repository of historical information is available for those fields Agronomy Focus provides agronomic consultancy services for. Quenten: “The main reason why we use Agworld is of course to streamline the workflow of creating crop plans and turning them into recommendations throughout the season. However, because this workflow naturally creates a digital record of exactly what we did in a field - either in the form of a recommendation or an ‘actual’, if the grower uses Agworld too - Agworld offers us the ability to look at what we’ve done historically and use that in our decision making process moving forward.”
Quenten: “As we’ve got data going back to at least 2012 for most fields, we’ve got a really good, comprehensive dataset of records that I can look back on whenever I need to. And, it’s not just me who can look back at this information; other agronomists within my business like Nicky, and of course the grower who’s field it is, can see this exact same information as well and use it for what they need to do. Whether we’re looking at historic crop rotations, herbicide usage or anything else; it’s easy to find in Agworld and it all helps us make better decisions in future seasons.”
Quenten continues: “I often find that, when growers have historic field information available on-demand through Agworld, they have a better understanding of why we need to do things a certain way. Agworld provides everyone working in a farming operation access to the same source of data, which makes the planning process, and decision making surrounding it, so much easier by having everyone on the same page.”
Collaborating with growers
Of Agronomy Focus’ 40+ grower clients, over 50% use Agworld themselves in their farming operation as well. From receiving agronomist recommendations in-app (instead of via email) to sharing data, having visibility into historic data, compiling budgets and creating compliant spray records, growers tend to have a variety of different use cases for Agworld, according to Quenten. “One of the more simple, but very valuable uses I see with our growers is the ability to look up chemical labels and additional information through the Agworld library. Because Agworld recommendations also show the active ingredient of each recommended product, it’s easy to find a substitute when the local ag retailer does not stock a specific brand for example. This might seem very simple, but it definitely helps prevent errors that could prove to be very costly if the wrong chemical is applied to the wrong crop!”
Quenten continues: “I’d love to see all our growers actively use Agworld today, but the reality is that it’s a gradual adoption process and every year a few more of our grower clients tend to become Agworld users. The bigger farm businesses, with multiple layers of staff, were the first adopters as it is really a no-brainer for them. They use Agworld to communicate information within their organisation and I quite often see them achieving adoption at all levels very rapidly as it simplifies their internal processes so much. For most family farms, whether they decide to adopt Agworld depends on their affinity with digital technology, whether a new generation is joining the operation, or any other factor that can act as a catalyst for this adoption. The common denominator though is that, once they start using Agworld, it doesn’t take them very long to start seeing the benefits and persist in creating their records through Agworld.”
The collaborative aspect is very important within Agronomy Focus, says Quenten: “There is some crossover between the clients that I service and that Nicky services. I might look after a client most of the time, but occasionally Nicky will visit them too; with Agworld, she knows exactly what the history of each field is and what the current status is. Agworld gives us as a business the flexibility to get everyone up to speed quickly and accurately, which is a big help when we’re in the busiest parts of our season.”
Quenten concludes with: “Having accurate information at your fingertips is important in every business, and agriculture is definitely no exception. Agworld helps Agronomy Focus and our grower clients with collecting, storing and sharing all relevant field information, which improves the results for everyone involved. I have witnessed Agworld come a long way over the past 10 years and it’s exciting to see that it’s evolved into a critical business intelligence system for many businesses such as ours.”
"Agworld provides everyone working in a farming operation access to the same source of data, which makes the planning process, and decision making surrounding it, so much easier by having everyone on the same page."
Quenten KnightDirector and Senior Agronomist, Agronomy Focus, Esperance, WA
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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.
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.
Deadfinish Farm and Tincurrin Rural ServicesDudinin, WA
In-field Data Accessibility
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.
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.