When critical farm records need to be available at all times
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.
Steve’s agronomist and inputs retailer, Dalby Rural Supplies, were already using Agworld and recommended he join them in using the same solution in order to reap the benefits of collaborating on the same platform.
Steve now receives his recommendations from his Dalby Rural Supplies agronomists via Agworld and also performs all his record keeping in Agworld. Because of this, Steve has all critical information at his fingertips, wherever he might be.
Growing summer crops on the Darling Downs
Queensland’s Darling Downs area is known for its fertile soils where growers can plant large acreages when the conditions are right. Dalby Rural Supplies agronomist Steve Muller consults on both winter and summer crops, but with around 20,000 acres of sorghum planted by his clients in an average year, summer is when the pressure is on for Steve. In order to work as efficiently as possible and ensure that his clients get their recommendations in time, Steve and his 7 colleague agronomists use Agworld to store observations and create recommendations.
Steve Muller comments: “What I like about Agworld is the fact that all information is in my pocket. It is not easy to carry a notebook and a big recommendation book with me in the field, but with Agworld I have it all in my phone. I can pull up in a field, make an observation, make a note in my recommendations, etc. I tend to start a recommendation and then close it and save as a draft; I then go to another field that I think may have a similar recommendation and then add to that same recommendation. This is what Agworld really makes easy for the grower: receiving just one recommendation for multiple fields instead of a multitude of different files. And, it’s easy for me too: I only need to create one recommendation for all fields requiring the same treatment.”
Steve Muller is able to make the communication process with his clients even easier when they also use Agworld and are able to collaborate with him on the same platform. One such grower that uses Agworld together with Dalby Rural Supplies is Steve McVeigh of McVeigh Ag. Steve McVeigh farms 8,500 acres, with 3,500 acres of irrigation on two separate farms that are approximately 50 kilometers apart. Steve McVeigh now not only receives his recommendations on Agworld but uses Agworld for all his record keeping as well.
Steve McVeigh: “We used to do all our record keeping on paper copies and had paperwork everywhere, which made it hard to find something specific when I needed it. We changed this by doing all our record keeping digitally on Agworld a few years ago and I now have everything at my fingertips at all time. I knew that my agronomist with Dalby Rural Supplies was using Agworld and when I saw how easy it was to use and that I could collaborate with him on the same platform, it really was a no-brainer for me to make the switch.”
Overcoming geographical separation
Steve McVeigh mainly grows cotton on his farms, both irrigated and dry land, in combination with other summer and winter crops, depending on the season, commodity prices and rotational needs. The geographical separation between Steve’s two farming aggregations at Nandi and Warra makes the job of managing them harder and communication is key to making it work. Steve explains: “I live on one of the properties myself and our farm manager Jake Murray on the other, but of course I still drive back and forth between them both a lot. We both use Agworld and this makes it easy to ensure that we’re on the same page. We get the recommendations from our agronomist and when an application is complete, we make sure we update Agworld straight away and convert the recommendation to an ‘actual’ so that we both can see what has been done.”
“The best part is that I always have the important information at my fingertips and it’s all in the same spot. If someone were to ring up and ask what happened in a specific field, I’ve got it right there. Especially with having split farms, if something needs to be done in a rush, I can look it up and see if it has been done straight away. Agworld improves my lifestyle, it gets me out of the office. That’s a big one for me. Record keeping is a necessity on every farm, we all have to do it, but with Agworld I don’t have to be physically sitting in the office anymore - I can do it on my phone from anywhere.”
Agronomist Steve Muller uses Agworld for all his crop checking and recommendations, and with good reason. Steve: “As soon as I am done checking a specific farm I go through my saved recommendations, have a chat with the grower, make some changes if needed and immediately submit the ones I want. And then, I’m done – which is really important for me – I can just put it to the back of my head. With everything else that I’ve got going on and all the other things I have to remember, it really helps that I can’t just forget something important here; it’s on Agworld and everyone that needs to know about it, has access to it.”
“I also have a number of clients that use contractors and part of my duties is to organise the chemicals for them to use, without needing to get the grower involved. I send the recommendation, which automatically includes a ‘shopping list’, through to the merchandise manager in our store and he can make sure everything gets delivered on time and in the right spot.”
When asking Steve about growers using Agworld and what his thoughts on that are, he responds: “The value is definitely there for them, but it’s just a matter of using it right and becoming familiar with it. Lots of growers still use spreadsheets as they perceive that to be easier. In my opinion, Agworld is very easy to use, even for new agronomists joining us here; it doesn’t take them long to understand how it works and just run with it. And, most importantly, we get good support from Agworld if and when we do need it.”
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.
Understanding production costs to remain competitive
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.