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.
In 2018 Kieran’s agronomist, Tim Trezise with Frankland Rural, started using Agworld and showed Kieran how they can collaborate on the Agworld platform and let Tim’s recommendations form the basis of Kieran’s record-keeping efforts, after which Kieran decided to adopt the Agworld platform as well.
With Agworld, Kieran now has instant access to every recommendation from his agronomist and turns this into a field record as soon as he has completed an operation on a field. Because of this, creating farm records has become a lot easier and quicker for Kieran. Kieran also had another audit, by grain bulk handler CBH, after adopting Agworld which was a lot easier to prepare for, as Kieran had all records available in Agworld for the auditors.
The Allison family farms at Perillup, in the lower Great Southern region of Western Australia, where Kieran Allison’s grandfather started farming by raising cattle. Kieran’s father and uncle started to pivot towards cropping when the local area was still considered ‘too wet’ for cropping by general consensus, but cropping is now the predominant farming activity in the area. Kieran, who now manages the farm together with his uncle, grows crops on the majority of their 11,000 acres with the rest of the land used for sheep and a blue gum plantation contract. Kieran: “The plantation contracts for blue gums are set for 20 years but, after the current trees will be harvested by the end of this year, that’s the end of the blue gum plantation for us after 12 years, which will be good for us as an enterprise.”
“With the large and expensive machinery that we use for our cropping operation, economies of scale become so important that we’d rather crop the plantation land than have another lot of trees planted again. We grow a rotation of canola, wheat, barley, oats and faba beans, and so we look forward to getting some extra acres to crop as part of this rotation. Together with our agronomist Tim Trezise we’re putting a lot of emphasis on pushing the limits of what we achieve every year and it’s important for our profitability and sustainability that we keep pushing the boundaries of our yields without having high input costs hurt our profitability. Working closely with our agronomist is really key in this process.”
Creating field records
Kieran decided to implement Agworld in their cropping operation in 2018, after agronomist Tim Trezise with Frankland Rural had started to use Agworld as well. Kieran: “When Tim started to use Agworld he showed me how his recommendations can flow through to me on the platform, giving me all the information I need at my fingertips on my phone or iPad and allowing us to work together even closer and with fewer communication barriers. When I saw that, it felt like a no-brainer to start using Agworld ourselves as well, especially as this has really helped us simplify our record-keeping process.”
Kieran elaborates: “We have a lot of passes over each field throughout the season, 13+ times per season most years, which is difficult to keep track of when you use pen and paper. I used to carry a folder in the sprayer and fill out a piece of paper at the end of each field, but this got really messy at the end of the season. It also made it virtually impossible to find anything back without spending hours sorting through a mountain of paper and trying to remember what I did exactly on a specific day a few months ago.”
For Kieran, creating actuals based on his agronomist’s recommendations in Agworld has simplified his record keeping process while also providing him with more information when he needs it. Kieran: “Tim and I sit together once a year for half a day and plan the next season. In that process Agworld allows us to easily see the chemical groups that we have used and the rotation that each field has had over the past years. Having that information all in front of us makes it a lot easier to plan a solid rotation and avoid herbicide resistance through using a diverse range of chemicals.”
Kieran continues: “As soon as we start to plant our crop and apply chemical inputs, Tim will start to turn our plan into recommendations and send these through to me. I can then easily follow these recommendations and turn them into an actual application as soon as I finish a field operation. I tend to pull up straight away in the spray rig to create an actual in Agworld on my iPad and add any additional information I might have to this record. By doing things this way on Agworld my records are always 100% and this gives Tim an up-to-date overview of where our spraying-program is at as well.”
For Kieran, like for many other growers, it’s not just the ability to create field records that is important, but it’s the ability to utilise this information again at a later stage that makes digital field records so important to his operation. Kieran: “We got audited for the ISCC (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification) Canola program when we were still creating paper records, which was a very labour-intensive process for both myself and the auditors. The mountain of paper was just messy and trying to find the correct information for the auditors took a lot more time than it should have.”
Kieran continues: “After we started to use Agworld we got audited for CBH’s (Co-operative Bulk Handling, Western Australia’s bulk grain handler) accredited grower process, which is very similar to ISCC certification, and the audit process was a lot easier for everyone involved because of Agworld. I had Agworld open on my computer for the auditors and was able to show them exactly what they needed to see without it taking much time or effort. The auditors also viewed these digital records as ‘more true’, as it records the day that you have created the actual. You can create paper records at any time after you’ve finished a job, up to months later if you want to, and this would really bring down the reliability of these records. With Agworld’s digital records it immediately becomes apparent when information has been entered and hence how reliable it is, which is a big tick in the books of auditors like the guys from CBH.”
Kieran concludes with: “The CBH accredited grower program auditors were very happy with my field records in Agworld and told me that “…the Agworld platform is what everyone should be using for their record-keeping”, which reinforced for me why we use Agworld on our operation. With an increased emphasis on food safety around the world I think we’ll continue to see more sustainability requirements and audits requiring evidence of how we have managed our crops for years to come. Having a digital record-keeping platform like Agworld in place will be key for us as an operation to ensure that we can continue to sell our commodities to as many markets as possible in future without having to spend a lot of extra time and effort on satisfying record keeping requirements.”
"With an increased emphasis on food safety around the world I think we’ll continue to see more sustainability requirements and audits requiring evidence of how we have managed our crops for years to come."
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.
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.
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.