The Jericho family used to rely on written records with multiple books in their tractors and spray rigs, and because of this system were unable to see gross margins per field or property. They also had no way of easily finding historical records of field operations or other important field-related information.
Josh Hollitt, the Jericho family’s agronomic consultant, started to use Agworld in 2010 and recommended his grower clients start using it as well. A few years later the Jericho family decided to adopt Agworld as well and they have been fully using the platform since 2015.
By utilising Agworld together with their agronomist, the Jericho family now get their recommendations in Agworld, are able to action them immediately and then turn these recommendations into actual farm records. By having all farm records available in Agworld with costs assigned to them, the Jericho family knows their gross margin per field and farm and is able to use this information for analysis and other purposes.
The Jericho family has farmed at Kimba, SA for nearly 100 years. Shane Jericho is a fourth-generation farmer who farms 5200 hectares together with his wife Sharna, parents Rob & Lynn, and brother Damian. Next to a sheep herd of 1350 head, the family grows a rotation of wheat, barley, lupins, vetch and medic pastures. Although they have been farming in the same area for nearly 100 years, Shane Jericho recognised that historic written farm records did not allow him to quickly find specific details of farm and field history: “In a normal year we have over 600 farm record entries in Agworld. If you manually write them down and spread these over separate books in different machines instead, it means that you really have no hope of ever finding what you need in future years.”
It was for this reason that Shane decided to adopt Agworld; “Our agronomist Josh Hollitt was already using Agworld since 2010 and he was keen to get his grower clients using the same system, so they could collaborate on the same platform. We started with Agworld in 2013 and the first two years were a learning curve for us. We had to figure out how we could best integrate Agworld into our operation while also entering some information, mainly rotations, from previous seasons so we had some historic data to start immediately working with. Right now, I can just look at my phone and find five years of farm history in Agworld whenever I need it. To me, that right there is very valuable; I have information available when I need it, wherever I may be.”
From plan to recommendation and record
Around September each year, Shane and his family sit around the table with agronomist Josh and form a plan for the season ahead: “Our whole planning process is done in Agworld on the iPad. What I like about it is that, once we select a crop type, it becomes really easy to see the different crops on one colour-coded map. It also helps us ensure that we get the logistics right for our mob of sheep; we don’t want their paddocks to be too far apart during the season and Agworld helps us ensure that we don’t run into issues there. Then, as soon as we approve the plan, it all comes up on our dashboard. We normally plan the next season before we harvest the current season, so that also helps us with knowing how much seed we need to keep for next season; it takes the guesswork out of what we’re doing.”
“During the season, when Josh checks our crops, we’ll drive around together and he’ll make notes and recommendations in Agworld as we are driving around. This gives us the opportunity to discuss things as we see them and, at the end of it, I automatically have all his notes and recommendations right where I need them: in Agworld. Everything around us is rapidly becoming paperless, and Agworld has helped us do just that when it comes to communication with our agronomist.”
“Once we’re actually performing operations in the field during the season, I can then either turn a recommendation into an actual, or create a completely new actual, depending on whether it was part of the plan or not. It is key for us to treat Agworld like part of the operation, like checking the oil in a tractor before starting it; as soon as an operation is done, we enter it in Agworld. We don’t wait to enter information otherwise it’ll just pile up and the entries become inaccurate; we’ve found this to be key to keeping accurate farm records.”
Gaining an accurate overview of the farm operation’s financial performance was one of the main motivators for Shane to adopt the Agworld platform: “We enter all our operations into Agworld as accurately as possible during the season, together with costs for each input and operation. Because of this we can easily print our financial reports straight from Agworld at the end of the season, which is invaluable to us. We can now see the financial results per crop, per field or per farm – whatever we might look for, it’s right there.”
“As part of our operation we run two separate lease properties as well. With these financial reports from Agworld we’re able to see how much we are, or are not, making on each property. Once we then average out the financial result over a number of years, it becomes really easy to see whether a property is worth leasing in future or not.”
“For these lease properties, we also give the property owners a copy of all operations performed on their fields at the end of each season. It’s just very professional to be able to give our landlords an accurate overview of exactly what has happened on their land, without it costing us any extra time or effort. Especially when it comes to residual herbicides used or the amount of fertiliser applied; landowners have a vested interest in knowing what we did and when we did it; Agworld allows us to get this taken care of easily.”
Shane concludes with: “Our crop rotation planning and in-crop management practices depend on a lot of different factors, like it does for all farmers. However, having the hard facts of the financial performance for each crop and field for the last five years available to us in Agworld, certainly helps us optimise our planning and therefore financial performance. If you don’t know what your financial results are, you can’t improve on them either; because we use Agworld, we do have this knowledge and are able to make improvements to our financial performance.”
When Tristan Baldock came home to join his family on the farm, he knew they needed a tool to capture data in a one-touch electronic format that everyone could access, so they all know exactly what happens in the field. Tristan also realised that the family needed more reports from their farm data in order to be able to make more transparent management decisions. At the same time, Tristan’s father, Graeme, had been using a legacy system but was already exploring the use of Agworld together with their agronomist.
Brendan and Claire Booth started farming as first-generation farmers in 2012. They soon realised that as they didn’t have generations of experience and knowledge to fall back on, they needed to work as smart and hard as possible. In order to achieve this, they knew they had to collect and use all important farm data to their advantage.
Barenbrug, one of Australia’s largest seed companies, used to do a lot of double handling of information and struggled to keep track of all activities performed on each trial. Barenbrug’s agronomists also were not able to access all historical information when they needed it and instead had to go back to their office and work through paper records in order to find the information required.