Midcap farms was using an incumbent solution to keep track of their in-field costs, but the process was very cumbersome and made it difficult to achieve the required accuracy.
After finding out about the Agworld platform through their accountancy provider K•Coe Isom in 2018, the Midcap family decided to switch platforms and start utilizing Agworld for their field record keeping.
Because Midcap farms utilizes Agworld, their field record keeping process has become more simple and a lot more accurate. With these field records in Agworld they are able to easily create the exact plans, budgets and cost overviews they need for their banking partner.
The Midcap family has been farming in Colorado for generations, first at the Front Range, and since World War II in Wiggins, CO, an hour northeast of Denver. Nick Midcap is a fourth generation farmer who currently farms together with father Fred and uncles Mike and Wayne. The family specializes in growing wheat seed on their 5,000 acres, with a third of their acres dedicated to growing a number of different wheat varieties each year. Another third of their land is used for spring crops such as millet or milo, and the final third of their fields fallowed each year.
The Midcap operation is 100% no-till, and vertically integrated to store and clean all wheat and millet that gets harvested on-farm. The wheat seed is then certified and sold to other wheat growers, with the millet sold to bird seed vendors across the USA. The only crop that is sold as a bulk-commodity is milo, which ends up in either an ethanol plant or a feedyard. Because all wheat is grown for seed production, it’s incredibly important that they get the correct in-crop treatments and that this is recorded for each field as well. According to Nick: “We grow 5 different wheat varieties for seed and some of them are herbicide tolerant, for example, which means that we have to create different plans for them as we have to spray them with the herbicide they’re tolerant to, whether we have a problem to treat or not.”
“This is done so that the tolerance to these chemicals is maintained through the seed growing process; if you don’t do this, the variety might lose some of its tolerance through the couple of years it takes to grow certified seed from the foundation seed. This is one of the reasons why we needed a better tool to create plans and keep track of our in-field applications. We used to use a very cumbersome solution and so, when we found out about Agworld, I immediately realized that this would help us tremendously with creating cropping plans per wheat variety. Once the applications are completed it’s easy to turn the planned activity in Agworld into an actual and enter any additional information that is pertinent to this application as well.”
Starting the season by planning
At the start of each season, the Midcap family sits together to create a plan for the season ahead, explains Nick: “We do this at the beginning of the season, but also have regular meetings throughout the season. In these meetings we look at our cost per acre and how much profit we derive from each crop and variety. Agworld really helps us satisfy our own curiosities in that sense because it shows us exactly where we are making money and where we are not, instead of just showing us averages or whole-farm numbers that don’t give us a clue as to how and where we need to improve.”
Nick adds: “I’m very excited about the new harvest functionality in Agworld as it will allow us to better keep track of each separate wheat variety as a commodity. For most growers wheat is just wheat and they sell it as one commodity, whereas for us every variety commands a different price. Wheat varieties portray different royalties and different genetic fees that are tagged onto the base price, which makes the total price a bit more opaque and it makes it harder for us to discover the actual profit we’re making. Agworld’s new harvest functionality will help us drill down into each individual variety a lot better and show us which varieties we’re making money on and which variety we’re perhaps not charging enough for.”
Creating reports for bankers
Nick found out about Agworld when his financial advisor at K•Coe Isom presented Agworld’s capabilities to him, and it was Agworld’s online/offline capabilities combined with a quick and easy interface that convinced him to make the switch initially. Nick has since found though that one of the best features in Agworld is the ability to create reports for his banker: “Once my banker found out that we use Agworld, they really enjoyed seeing our reports, and the reports have answered a lot of questions for them on how much we’re spending on chemicals and fertilizers, etc. This has made the various annual processes with our bank a lot quicker and easier.”
Nick continues: “Our banker focuses on what we’re spending and where we’re spending it to make sure that we continue to be good stewards of our money. It’s as much in our own interest though as it is in our bank’s interest to ensure that we manage our risks and rewards in a way that keeps us profitable and sustainable - Agworld has made it a lot easier for us to achieve and prove this. We send our banker our Agworld ‘actuals’ from past years as well as our plan for the upcoming year, which shows them exactly what they need on their end.”
Being able to do this in Agworld instead of through other systems has been a big improvement says Nick: “In the past I had to spend a lot of time on an excel spreadsheet coming up with the plan for the year because the banker always wants to see our plan so they can take note of how much capital we need and what our projected returns are. Because we now use Agworld for this whole process, it’s a lot easier and quicker to achieve an even more accurate report; this is definitely a win-win for both ourselves and our banker.”
"It’s as much in our own interest as it is in our bank’s interest to ensure that we manage our risks and rewards in a way that keeps us profitable and sustainable - Agworld has made it a lot easier for us to achieve and prove this."
Orchard margins in Australia have been slowly decreasing over the past 40 years, leading to orchards becoming increasingly more volume driven. With no digitised record keeping system in place, the McNab family did not have a clear understanding of their cost of production and margin by variety.