Avi Kwa Ame is a large-scale farming operation on the Fort Mojave Indian Reservation, producing large quantities of hay and other commodities each year. In order to accurately keep track of the inputs they apply, create up-to-date maps, create 1080 forms (a mandatory form to be submitted to the Federal Department of Ag for pesticide applications) and schedule harvest, they needed to move from an old proprietary system to a new and sophisticated system.
General Manager Andrew Harter investigated a number of different solutions, and ended up choosing the Agworld platform as it provides the best functionality for their range of needs and requirements.
Because of Agworld's intuitive user interface, it is easy for Andrew and his colleagues to keep track of all their operations and create cut schedules. Andrew spends most of his time in the field; with Agworld he can make operational decisions from his iPad, which is far more efficient and effective than from the office.
Mojave Indians are Pipa Aha Macah - 'The People By The River' - and the Colorado River is indeed a striking feature on the otherwise very dry Fort Mojave Indian Reservation, covering nearly 42,000 acres in the tri-state area of Arizona, California and Nevada. Of these 42,000 acres, around 4,900 are farmed by Fort Mojave Indian Tribe's farming operation: Avi Kwa Ame Farms. With Tier 1 water rights on the Colorado River ample water is available for intensive irrigated agriculture, says Avi Kwa Ame Farms General Manager Andrew Harter: “All fields are irrigated and we grow a mix of different crops. The largest amount of acreage planted is alfalfa, followed by Bermuda grass - both for seed and hay, wheat, durum wheat, oats, triticale and a little bit of okra seed.”
The sheer size of Avi Kwa Ame Farms becomes obvious when Andrew starts talking about the productivity of the farming operation: “About 7,900 acres are dedicated to hay production each year, which means with the tonnage that we're able to grow, that we produce well in excess of 1 million bales of hay each year. In recent years over half of our production ended up being exported to countries such as: Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, China and the Middle East. The rest is used domestically by dairy farms or beef feedlots.”
Andrew continues: “Due to the sheer size of our operation, it's necessary for us to use some form of farm management software to help us keep track of our applications and assist us with creating our 1080s for the Federal Government Department of Agriculture. The farm manager that I took over from when I started with Avi Kwa Ame Farms had developed their own proprietary system, but it was very cumbersome, not very user friendly, and just didn't work. After we got rid of that system I tried a couple of other systems and ended up choosing Agworld in 2017 as I find it is the easiest to use for what is important to us: tracking applications, creating 1080s, and storing easy-to-understand maps for everyone involved in our farming operation.”
Andrew is not the only Agworld user at Avi Kwa Ame Farms; team members such as: office staff, the hay production crew, harvest crew supervisor, and custom applicators are all able to enter their job details into Agworld. Relying on Agworld to streamline communication between these stakeholders has been very beneficial to Avi Kwa Ame Farms according to Andrew: “The size of our farm and number of different fields it encompasses can quite easily cause confusion throughout the season, especially with crops like alfalfa that get cut up to 8 times per season. With Agworld I can easily create the harvest work schedule on the iPad, which the crew supervisor then immediately has access to as well. This gets rid of a lot of general confusion as they now know exactly what we are wanting to do and when, on Agworld.”
Andrew adds: “The same goes for our custom applicator and our crew. When we get the recommendation from our agronomic consultant, our office staff immediately uses that data to create work orders in Agworld and assign jobs to the applicators. You cannot put a value on the instant access our agronomic consultant and his staff have to critical information such as: field location, product(s) required, application quantity, and tank mix instructions. Errors can easily occur, because from the air many fields look the same as they are of a similar size and they all have alfalfa established. By using Agworld as our platform to communicate accurate information to everyone involved, we can minimize the chances of miscommunication and resulting errors occurring.”
History at the fingertips
Like most farmers, Andrew is always looking to improve on the results achieved in previous years and he says that Agworld is helping him achieve this. “Agworld allows me to easily go back into last season's data and see what we did for applications on a specific crop. This year for example I'm trying to figure out why we had such a good crop of Bermuda grass seed last year. In Agworld I'm able to go back to the Bermuda crop of 2021 and look at the jobs we did on a field, how much fertilizer we used, when we applied it, and other important details.
Andrew concludes: “With this historic information from Agworld it becomes a lot easier to mimic last year's management practices, and the results as well. For Avi Kwa Ame Farms this is probably the most important aspect for us, as Agworld gives us access to our historic farm data whenever we need it, wherever we are. When you're producing over 1 million bales of hay each year you have to make sure that all your farm management practices are fine tuned; Agworld helps us achieve this.”
Ryan Moore is principal and owner of M&M Ag Consulting - an ag data consultancy firm based in Arkansas. Ryan assists growers with the collection of all their field-level data and helps them turn this data into tangible changes to their farm management practices. In order to do this efficiently, Ryan needed to adopt the right digital tools that work for both himself, as well as his grower clients.
Oxbow Agriculture used to keep track of their farming activities through written field records - relying on everyone involved in the farming process to write things down in a variety of different formats. The challenges that came with written records included: no visibility in historic records across the organization, hard to use field records for anything other than 'having them on record just in case', difficulty communicating exact work orders across the organization or to contractors and record-keeping that was labor-intensive and prone to errors.
De Bortoli Wines used to rely on written records in journals and diaries to keep field records for all their farms. Due to the size and scope of their operation this created constraints, as it did not allow for multiple people across their operation to have visibility into the day-to-day operations.