Generating value by using data instead of shiny tools
McGregor Gourlay as an organisation used a legacy digital ag solution for their recommendations but was unable to turn this into an integrated approach across the company. They were at the same time looking for a way to provide more ability to forecast to their merchandise managers through increase visibility.
McGregor Gourlay adopted the Agworld platform across the organisation for their agronomists. They also made sure that their agronomists do their planning in Agworld so an accurate overview of the products needed for the upcoming season can be created.
Agronomists with McGregor Gourlay now write their recommendations on the Agworld platform and are therefore able to quickly and easily let the grower know what treatment they recommend. McGregor Gourlay merchandise managers are now able to forecast their stock requirements better by having increased visibility into agronomists’ plans for the season.
McGregor Gourlay is an ag retail business with 13 branches in Northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland and a history dating all the way back to 1897. But rather than just relishing a long and distinguished history, McGregor Gourlay is always looking at offering their clients new and innovative products & services that can help improve efficiency.
McGregor Gourlay Group Senior Agronomist Scott Rogers explains: “Our leadership has realised the importance of digital agriculture for our clients and we want to make sure we are offering them every chance to seize the opportunities available. As a business with a long history and some very experienced agronomists that have been with us for a long time, we want to make sure our focus is on the future and that we fully embrace new technology that helps us achieve our goals.”
As part of their focus on new and innovative technologies, McGregor Gourlay decided to adopt the Agworld platform. Scott adds: “We feel that a product like Agworld, particularly with the partner integrations, just makes our life a whole lot easier. Having a professional platform like Agworld across the business brings us efficiencies, but also adds to the value and strength of our relationships with our clients. It’s always difficult to determine what is going to be interesting for our clients and what gives them most value, but Agworld has definitely struck a good note.”
“Within digital ag it is quite easy to become distracted by method rather than outcome but we are definitively finding that data, is where value can be generated for everyone involved. When our agronomists use this data from Agworld to make decisions, it also creates a conversation with the client; it’s these kind of conversations during which opportunities appear and synergies are found. At the other end of the equation, the data from Agworld helps our branches make accurate estimations of the stock levels that are needed to service our clients; this adds a whole new level of efficiency for them.”
Using Agworld in the field
Dan Sweeney is one of the McGregor Gourlay agronomists that uses Agworld on a daily base. Dan is based in Croppa Creek, NSW and has a strong broad-acre agronomy focus with wheat, barley, canola, chickpeas and sorghum the main crops he consults on. Dan: “I use Agworld every day, to create and send recommendations, look up field history, rotations, herbicides, create observations, converting recommendations to records; I basically use Agworld wherever I can.”
“At the start of the season I create plans in Agworld and then review them together with the growers. They really like these plans as they are able to take them to their accountant or bank manager; it’s a good general overview of the season ahead for them. By having field and grower history available in Agworld, I am able to get a good idea of what we would use in a ‘normal year and I can then use this information to create a plan. I see this as a big advantage of Agworld; I have got this information available to me whenever I need it, wherever I might be. Same goes for labels of a specific chemical or photos attached to an observation or recommendation; I am able to look at a weed for example and see how we tackled that problem last time. This helps me make quick and good crop-management decisions, which is what it’s all about in cropping!”
“Agworld really improves my efficiency. As soon as I am done checking a field, I can send my recommendation to the grower straightaway. They can then immediately organise the recommended treatment to be executed as soon as possible. Agworld allows us and our growers to get the job done instantly, and to me that’s very important.”
Connecting agronomist and grower
Dan Sweeney not only uses Agworld himself as agronomist, but also in collaboration with his clients. Andrew Gillan of Gilgrain Farms, Crooble, NSW, is one of Dan’s clients that uses Agworld and collaborates on the platform with Dan. Andrew grows a wheat, barley and chickpea rotation on 4000 acres of land in what is known as the ‘golden triangle’ of Northern New South Wales; known for its fertile soils.
Andrew: “I’ve been using Agworld for two years now but because McGregor Gourlay has been using it longer than that, I’ve already got 4 years’ worth of history to look back on. I initially started using Agworld because I had the need to keep more spray records and found it very handy that I could easily record the exact weather details at the time of application in the record on Agworld.”
“The thing that makes Agworld so good, is that Dan and I both use it together. When the season starts, we work on a plan and a budget in Agworld together, which great because I can use templates for certain scenarios that make planning really easy. I also enjoy getting the recs through Agworld and automatically being able to see my ‘shopping list’ which details the inputs that I’ll need for that application. When I’m in the field, I can record my rainfall, access SDS’s and labels as well, and that is the best part about Agworld: it’s very multifunctional and you end up using just one app for many different things!”
Scott Rogers concludes with: “This is exactly why we’ve adopted Agworld as a business: having an integrated chain of data that extends from the agronomist to the grower and back to the chemical stores. Everyone now has all the information they need available and it doesn’t matter when or where; it’s in their pocket on their phone. And in the end we add a lot of value for a clients, which is our main goal and this is what ensures that McGregor Gourlay will be successful far into the future.”
"Agworld really improves my efficiency. As soon as I am done checking a field, I can send my recommendation to the grower straight away. They can then immediately organise the recommended treatment to be executed as soon as possible. Agworld allows us and our growers to get the job done instantly, and to me that’s very important."
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.