When Tom Curnow moved back to the family farm in 2016 and immediately started managing all farming related activities, he needed instant access to as much historical field data as possible in order to make the best possible crop management decisions.
Agworld had already been implemented on Kainton Farms in 2012, and is used to capture all cropping plans, recommendations and in-field information throughout the season.
By having access to all in-field data in digital format through Agworld, Tom was able to quickly get up-to-speed on the history of each field. With this knowledge, Tom was able to apply learnings from the past to future decisions immediately and did not have to ‘rediscover the wheel’.
Crops:Wheat, barley, canola, field peas
A difficult start
Not many 23-year-old farmers can say they’ve already been farming for 5 years but for Tom Curnow, devastating circumstances have made this his reality. Tom’s father, Kym Curnow, was tragically killed during the Scaddan bushfires on November 17th, 2015, leaving 18-year-old Tom, only four days out of high school, to manage the family farming operation. The family farming operation, Kaiton Farms, with the home farm at Scaddan and additional blocks at Cascase and Neridup, WA, now comprises 5,000 hectares with a mixture of both owned and leased land. Tom now farms together with twin brother Riley and they grow a rotation of wheat, barley, canola and field peas.
When Tom took over the management of the farm, he had little experience with managing the farming operation, other than operating farm machinery, and so he had to digest a lot of information in a very short period of time. Tom: “I’m very fortunate in that my uncle Daren, who dad used to farm in partnership with until 2014, provided a lot of help and guidance in those first years to get me started. Dad had also been using Agworld on our farm for quite a few years already, which helped me get a basic idea of what needed to be done in each field. Because I was pretty green when I took over the farm, Agworld made the knowledge-transfer side a little bit easier for me; whenever I was in a field and wanted to know some very specific information, I could just have a look at the iPad and access all the information available on Agworld.”
Tom continues: “Not knowing much about chemicals at all in the beginning, having digital recommendations in Agworld connected to a label library was really useful for me. Whenever my agronomist, Quenten Knight, sent me a recommendation through Agworld, it was easy for me to find which chemicals we were using and what we were using them for. Having that instant-visualisation of labels and other information made it so much easier for me to get a handle on our farming operations, and having it all available on my iPad is so much easier than having a big pile of paper lying around somewhere; that just becomes messy and useless so fast.”
Recording all available information
Tom was clearly able to see the benefits of having a large amount of data available to him when he started farming, which is why Tom is also very diligent in recording as much new field data as possible. Tom: “Of course we get all our recommendations from Quenten through Agworld, and we convert these into actuals as soon as we have finished an application, but we also record all other field information where possible.”
Tom continues: “My brother Riley, who recently came back home to farm as well, deep-ripped some new lease-country for example – that’s the kind of work that we make sure to capture in Agworld with as much detail as possible such as depth and direction, so that we can always refer back to what we did exactly in years to come. I know that this type of non-application information will be very valuable to me in future, as I refer back to this data from years ago a lot right now.’
Tom explains: “A lot of fields on our farm were merged together at some point in the past, or boundaries might have changed for a different reason. This can still clearly show up in our NDVIs or yield maps in years to come. Even now I sometimes look at a yield map, wonder why I’m seeing a specific pattern, and then find out through Agworld that Dad grew peas in a certain area for example. Without Agworld, I’d only be guessing at what might be causing the difference; with having Agworld, many of these questions have become so much easier to answer.”
Utilising geospatial data layers in Agworld
Next to Agworld, Tom also uses MyJohnDeere and PCT Agcloud for capturing geospatial data layers where possible; both these solutions have API connectivity with Agworld to create a seamless data-sharing situation. Tom: “We’ve had the whole home farm EM-surveyed over the past years, and this data is all stored in PCT Agcloud. Because of the connection with Agworld, these data layers now flow into Agworld so that both Quenten and I can utilise them in our decision-making processes whenever we need to. It’s also really good for when I’m driving around, and I see something in the soil or the crop that I’d like to investigate; often these extra data layers form foundational pieces for getting the right answers.”
Tom continues: “In MyJohnDeere we capture our yield data, as both our own header as well as our contractors are fitted out with John Deere RTK guidance systems and monitors. MyJohnDeere allows us to stitch maps from both machines together and then get this data cleaned-up in PCT Agcloud. From there, the finished data layers flow straight into Agworld so we can then use them in years to come as reference for that particular field. The advantage of having all these systems ‘talk to each other’ for me is that I can access all data on one system instead of constantly having to open different programs. Agworld is the app that I use most regularly, so I tend to use it for viewing the MyJohnDeere and PCT Agcloud data layers as well – it just keeps things simple for me while giving me access to all the data I need.”
Tom concludes with: “Capturing and storing data is proven to be very important on our farm. We try to be as technologically advanced as possible with the data we capture, but sometimes it’s as simple as taking a screenshot or photo and attaching it to an actual. Because our information is all stored in a geographically referenced way in Agworld, we can easily find things back when we need to. Because we are so diligent with capturing and storing our data on the Agworld platform and connected partners, I now always have the maximum amount of data available at my fingertips through Agworld, so I can use it whenever the need arises and wherever I am. To me, having information is only useful when you can easily access it at all times, wherever you are – and Agworld offers me this.”
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.