John Morrison had been looking at adopting farm management software for a number of years but didn’t find any of the programs he tried to be user friendly. They all cost him more time instead of saving time and effort, so Morrison Farms continued to use paper forms.
When local ag retailer, Skagit Farm Supply, switched to using Agworld, they showed John what the platform could do for operations like Morrison Farms. John immediately found it very simple and easy to use and so the decision to adopt Agworld was made.
Because Morrison Farms now uses Agworld for all their field-level record keeping, John saves a lot of time on creating his individual field records. They now also have peace of mind that their records are safely stored in the cloud, as they lost all previous farm records in a shop fire in 2019, so the Morrison family realizes the value of safe storage of these records.
Having your property threatened by fire is most people’s biggest nightmare for many obvious reasons. And, although exceedingly rare, fires do happen and when they do, the results are often devastating. At Morrison Farms in Mount Vernon, WA, this nightmare became a reality on the early morning of Friday November 1st, 2019. While most buildings were spared, the building that houses the mechanical workshop and offices was destroyed by an intense fire, rendering the building a complete loss.
“A lot of history was lost on that day”, says 5th generation farmer John Morrison, who farms together with his father Darrin and uncle Keith. “When the fire had just happened it naturally was a very hectic period for us, trying to replace all our critical infrastructure and ensuring that the farm could keep operating without disruption, although this luckily happened at the beginning of winter instead of during our peak season. When it came to farm records we had written records dating back a long time, as our family has farmed here for over a hundred years, but all those records were stored in the office and therefore lost in the fire. We had only started to use Agworld two years prior to the fire but already it proved tremendously helpful for us to not have lost those two years worth of records; we just bought a new iPad, logged back in and everything was right there for us.”
John continues: “Of course farm records aren’t anyone’s first concern when a fire occurs, but losing these records can have a big impact for years to come. From being able to prove field management practices for GlobalG.A.P. or organic certification to knowing which residual herbicides were used in a field at which date; these details are very important to the profitability and sustainability of our farm. We grow spinach seed for example which can only be grown in a field once every 12 years due to disease issues and our potatoes can only be grown in a field every 4 years; when you combine that with other crops that have different rotational intervals again, you know exactly why having field history available to us on Agworld is so critical to our operation.”
Creating field records
The Morrison family specializes in growing potatoes, yellows, whites and reds for fresh market table stock, which are packed in a packing shed that the family co-owns with a neighboring farming family. Next to potatoes, the Morrisons also grow barley, wheat, grass seed, spinach seed, cabbage seed and cover crop seed, farming approximately 1,000 acres annually. With such a variety of crops to manage, it’s little wonder that having accurate field records available at all times is so important to John: “If I see something in a field and wonder when that field last got sprayed or whether I should hit it again, I can find that answer immediately on the Agworld app as I always have my iPhone or iPad with me. When we only had paper records, and if I wasn’t the person that had last sprayed the field, I ended up having to drive back to the office to find out - Agworld has been a game changer for us in that respect.”
With having so many different crops to spray, creating accurate records for these sprays can easily create a large additional administrative burden if no good systems are in place, says John: “I really like that with Agworld, creating these field records has become part of my daily routine. Quite often, I’ll have created the actual in Agworld before I even leave the field. For me, this means that I can spend more time with my family, as I don’t have to worry about catching up on anything over the weekend or at night when I’m done with the rest of the farm work. Not to mention, we are already working long days. Our farm is located amongst many buildings and other crops, therefore, we have to spray early in the morning and late into the evening to prevent spray drift. Needless to say, the last thing I want to do is extra data entry work after the field work is done, thanks to Agworld I don't have to!"
John continues: “When we still created paper records, we’d have to sit down and write down every single thing over and over again in order to be compliant for each field. With Agworld, it automatically brings in EPA numbers and all the other details and, by using templates, it’s so easy to replicate the same job across different fields. Agworld saves me a lot of time, to the point where I gain a couple of hours a week easily by just being able to go home at the end of the day instead of having to create field records. We spray our fields every 7 to 10 days during the season and there’s a lot of the same chemicals going on, so it’s easy to save an hour on this process when you don’t have to hand write out all different fields every 7 to 10 days!”
John concludes with: “Because of the efficiency and time gain that I achieve by using Agworld, I get to spend more time with my family or go golfing a bit more often than I used to, because I don’t have to create records when I’m not in the field. For me there are many benefits to using Agworld, but spending more time with my family is definitely the biggest one.”
"Because of the efficiency and time gain that I achieve by using Agworld, I get to spend more time with my family or go golfing a bit more often than I used to, because I don’t have to create records when I’m not in the field."
An increasing number of Skagit Farmers Supply’s clients is converting part of their acreage to be certified for the production of organic crops. These growers get audited each year and need to be able to prove exactly what has been applied to a field throughout the growing season.