Jessica Horstman, Mulga Springs, Northampton, WA, and her family use two separate farm management platforms: Agworld for cropping and Mobble for livestock. While both are best-in-class, operators do need to switch between systems to see specific cropping and livestock information.
When Agworld and Mobble announced the first stage of their product integration, Jessica was one of the first farmers to test, and later utilise the integration.
Everyone at Mulga Springs, including their agronomist, is now able to visualise critical livestock data in Agworld. This includes: mob location, grazing information, days grazed and stocking rates. Now that this data has become more accessible, this has allowed for a great understanding to guide decision making.
Crops:Canola, wheat, barley, oats, lupins
Livestock:Poll Merino stud
Combining crops and livestock
Diversifying farming operations in order to minimize risks is common on many Australian farms, and Mulga Springs is a prime example of this practice. Mulga Springs, near Northampton, Western Australia, has been owned by the Hasleby family since 1949, with Chris Hasleby and daughter Jessica Horstman the 2nd and 3rd generation farmers. On 7,900 acres they run a flock of Merino sheep and grow a rotation of canola, wheat, barley, oats and lupins. The Mulga Springs Poll Merino Stud place high importance on breeding dual purpose merinos, for which they mate 700 stud ewes each year - next to 1,500 commercial ewes.
Jessica is the oldest of 3 daughters and, with a keen interest in agriculture, has been farming with her parents since 2011 after obtaining a degree in Agriculture from the University of Sydney and a Postgraduate Certificate in Agricultural Consulting from UNE. Since joining the family farming operation, Jessica has had a keen interest in adopting new on-farm technology: “If we adopt technology in our operation, we want to make sure that all of us are able to use it to the extent we need to, and that it actually helps us improve our operation and our bottom line. Between myself, my dad who just turned 72, and our farm hands, it is important that we use technology that works for us, and that we can adopt as a team without major difficulties.”
Jessica continues: “We already use electronic ear tags for our sheep, with which we were one of the 'early' adopters in Western Australia, but we haven't started using variable rate technology yet for our seed and fertilizers. For many farmers this could be the exact other way around, but I believe it all depends on the people, skills and business needs. With that in mind, we found both Agworld and Mobble the right farm management platforms to adopt on our farm and help us with our crops and livestock.”
Both Agworld and Mobble were adopted at Mulga Springs in 2019, after trying a number of different solutions, says Jessica: “We started using electronic ear tags in 2016 in a project with DPIRD to increase the adoption of EID and ASBVs in sheep. A few years later we also identified the need for a livestock management solution for our mob management. We tried a couple of different options, but chose Mobble because it is very intuitive and easy to understand. When dad told me that he liked it and found it easy to use, I knew it was the right solution for us. An important role for Mobble in our organization is transferring Dad's knowledge from his head and the scribbling in his stockbook to somewhere I can access it and learn from it.”
“We were using legacy cropping software but in 2019 decided to make the switch from it to Agworld. Because our agronomist, Nick McKenna from Planfarm, also uses Agworld, it is easy for him to create recommendations for our crops and pastures, and send them through to us. We don't need to meet him in-person anymore, he can just send it through, we access Agworld on our end, and go do what we have to. Dad used to be the main person spraying, so it was an easy way to make sure we get accurate information to him, but now that I'm learning the chemical side of our business, Agworld is proving a good learning tool as well. The tank mix functionality is especially helpful in working out exactly what I need to apply.”
Jessica continues: “Having accurate records available in Mobble and Agworld helps us in many different ways. As an example, we recently got audited for our livestock records, and Mobble made that process really simple. I just downloaded a CSV file of all our drenching history and other pertinent information, and the auditing authority was happy with that, which saved me a lot of time and energy. There might be other ways we will be able to use this data in future, and just knowing that we are recording and storing it in a way that is easy to access, gives us peace of mind.”
Every new technology adopted comes with its own set of online login credentials, and often its own app. While critical for operating said technology, this does present a problem to farmers: how do you use all these logins or apps at the same time while still ensuring you maximize the return from each investment? Additionally, how do you make it easy for other team members or third parties to access information from all these different apps or platforms that help them become more efficient and make better decisions?
For Mulga Springs, enabling their agronomist to access certain livestock information has been one of the benefits of utilising the Agworld - Mobble integration. Per Jessica: “He uses Agworld constantly, and so the fact that he can now visualize certain information from Mobble in Agworld is very useful. For him to be able to see stocking rates and mob information is very useful when he does our pasture planning and crop grazing in autumn and early winter, to let pastures get away. He can now see how many acres of pasture, lupins, barley or barley stubble we have, in addition to what our livestock situation is. This is very helpful in painting a complete and accurate picture for him to make decisions off of.”
Jessica concludes: “It's not just our agronomist that benefits from having the Agworld - Mobble integration available, but as an example it also helps our workman who doesn't have access to Mobble. He can now see the most important details from Mobble in Agworld, which he does use on a regular basis. I hope that this is only the beginning when it comes to integrating the various technologies we use on our farm. They are all very useful in their own right but, if they follow the Agworld - Mobble path and offer integrations with each other, they become a lot more powerful. The way I see it, centralizing information so that we can really use all the data we collect will be instrumental in maximizing the ROI for the technology we invest in.”
The Tiverton Agriculture Impact Fund 'Tiverton' charter is to acknowledge the natural capital aspects of their farms such as soil and native plantings, and how to monetise those natural capital elements of the farm in addition to conventional farming practices. In order to pass the fund audit, and requirements as set out by the Emission Reduction Fund 'ERF' to earn carbon credits, it is crucial for Tiverton to have accurate field records.