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.
When agronomist Darren Pech with Elders started to use Agworld for his planning and recommendations, the Clark family could see the benefits of joining him on the same platform. They have now adopted Agworld into their operation and connected with Darren so they can share data.
By using Agworld together with their agronomist, Scott and Luke now have an easy way to keep accurate farm records. They also now have an accurate set of financial information available at all times that helps them plan and make decisions throughout the season.
Scott and Luke Clark, together with their wives Jamie and Bernadette, run a mixed cropping and livestock operation at Jamestown in South Australia. Of their land, 80% is used to grow a rotation of wheat, barley, canola, beans and hay with the other 20% of the land not suitable for cropping and used to sustain a self-replacing merino flock. They previously used a legacy system for their farm records, but in 2016 decided to switch to Agworld. “We were looking for a system that would simplify our record keeping and speed up the process as well; when our agronomist Darren Pech with Elders started to use Agworld, the decision for us to join him on the same platform was an easy one,” according to Scott.
“We wanted a system that would automate as much of the record keeping process as possible. With Agworld we get the recommendations from Darren into Agworld automatically, and with the Agworld – John Deere integration, we now also know exactly when something was done. So, if we have any issues afterwards such as a chemical that didn’t work for example, it’s easy to find the exact time of application and cross-reference that with data with our automatic weather station or any other kind of time-referenced data.”
“Having all this data auto-populated in our system saves us writing things down in books or scraps of paper and enhances the accuracy of what we do. Right now we use Agworld on our phones, but starting next season, we will have two iPads that rotate between the machinery that we’re using at specific times during the season meaning we always have our data available in the field and every machine we use can double as our office.”
Simplifying agronomic planning
Darren Pech has been using Agworld since 2012, when Elders started to transition from legacy systems over to the Agworld platform, and sees big advantages in using a platform that combines planning and budgeting with day-to-day agronomic recommendations. Darren: “Some of my grower clients use Agworld themselves and others don’t, but I create plans for all of them in Agworld. Some growers that don’t use Agworld still prefer to have their plans on paper, which is easily done as well; I just print them straight from Agworld. I then give them another page with it that they can use to put spraying records and other important information on. This ensures that they know exactly what the plan is and what has to be done, and it gives me the critical information I need on my side. Although for me it’s obviously easiest when a grower uses Agworld themselves as well, so they can enter all information themselves and I can access this information when I need it.”
“When I create a budget for growers, we find that estimated numbers ahead of the season are often good enough. It might be a couple of percent off from what the actual costs are in the end, but it’s definitely good enough to provide guidance for the growers and myself. What I like about Agworld is that I can do the planning wherever I am. Quite often I find myself doing this while I sit in the header together with a grower for example. Because Agworld has such a good iPad app, I don’t have to be in the office for planning, which makes planning my time a lot easier.”
Darren continues: “Because of Agworld, my record keeping is far more comprehensive regarding what growers are doing in their fields. Especially for a potential residue issue, there’s a lower chance of mistakes happening because you can look back to previous data and see what has been applied where and when. The planning part of Agworld also helps us a lot in ensuring that we have the correct stock on hand at the right time. Because I know for each grower which crop will be planted in a certain field, we know ahead of time which products we need to have on hand. This helps us purchase accurately and helps the grower by ensuring that everything they need is available to them without delay.”
Basing decisions on financial data
Scott and Luke make many decisions based on financial information available to them in order to help maximise their profit. Scott explains: “Having accurate and up-to-date financial data available to us in Agworld at all times is critical to our operation. We regularly experience frost events for example and the data in Agworld helps us plot a new course as soon as these and other kinds of events occur. We know what our running gross margin cost is at all times and with that we can easily work out a break-even point. Once we’ve had an adverse weather event, we make a new yield estimate, and together with our current costs, we know immediately whether we still have a chance of getting to break-even or not. This helps us inform our decision-making process and helps us avoid wasting money on a field that might be a ‘lost cause’ already. Our farm is not very large and by utilising Agworld, we can ensure that we make the most out of every acre that we farm.”
“Something else that I like about Agworld is that it allows us to plan ahead for multiple years if we need it. This helps us if we want to buy a block of land for example. We can take the Agworld budgets to the bank and show them, with 10-year average numbers, what we stand to make of this new block of land in the years to come with a certain rotation. So, instead of the bank just having to believe our gut feel, we can show them the facts. To me, that’s what Agworld offers us: the ability to create, collect and utilise accurate data for our own benefit. We’ve had some pretty tough seasons out here, like most farmers, and because we maximise the use of our data through Agworld, we can ensure that we make the most out of whatever the season might throw at us.”
"To me, that’s what Agworld offers us: the ability to create, collect and utilise accurate data for our own benefit."
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.