What is farm management software?

Farm management software are digital tools that help growers centralize their records, optimize their productivity, and make better decisions for their farm. The bottom line? When you pair grower's expertise with technology, farm management becomes easier,more efficient and more profitable. Farm management is an example of ag tech revolutionizing the industry.

High-quality farm management software will help you:

Who is farm management software for?

Farm management software is for growers looking to streamline their farm management practices, escape from spreadsheets, and implement data-driven decision making. Farm management software can be used by large exporters and small family growers alike.

Why not use paper records?

There are several key problems with keeping paper records, most notably:

Why not use Excel sheets?

Excel sheets are better than paper records, but they're not ideal for growers looking to optimize their operations. Excel sheets suffer from the following limitations:

What does farm management software do?

No two farm management software platforms are alike. Some are comprehensive, while others focus on specific aspects of the farm. The following are features that you can look out for when choosing a farm management software platform:

Event Recording

Production Practice Scheduling

Keep your farm on track and avoid forgotten or duplicated tasks. Create your own schedules quickly and easily or choose from thousands of schedule templates.

Yield Mapping

Yield mapping refers to the process of collecting geo-referenced data on crop yield and characteristics, such as moisture content, while the crop is being harvested. Farm management software can be synced up with third-party sensors so that you can monitor your yield map and data on the go.

Order Management

Some farm management software includes sales order processing components to help growers manage sales orders and invoices. Accurately track, monitor and analyze your sales from initial order through to despatch and the final sales invoice. Manage products and price lists, keep track of orders, produce sales invoices and deal with returns and credit notes. Generate professional documents complete with your own logo and save time by reducing manual processes such as repeat manual entry.

Reduce Audit Time

Farm management software's record storage and report generation capabilities can cut audits down from a few days to a few hours.

Enhance Traceability

High-quality farm management software can enable growers to know exactly which block a bin of fruit came from and who picked it. This becomes invaluable when defects are spotted or when recalls occur.

Enhance Food Safety

Better traceability means better food safety.

Employee Information Storage

Farm management software can allow growers to keep records of work hours offered, work hours completed, and work activities completed throughout the day. Compile all employees' personal records all in one easily-accessible, secure location. Generate unique employee numbers and print employee badges with scannable QR codes for easy punching in and out.

Mobile Punch-Clock

Punch employees in or out with a few taps or a simple scan of an employee badge.

Labour Productivity Tracking

Monitor what employees are working on at any time. Review productivity trends by employee or by team.

Piece Rates and Payout Calculations

Assign employees to different pay schedules and let farm management software calculate their payout - no manual calculations necessary.

Improve Farm Worker Safety

Did you know that in 67% of acute pesticide poisoning cases, agricultural workers were doing routine farm work and not conducting pesticide applications? Contact with pesticide residues associated with early re-entry is found to be one of the most common means of exposure.

Farm management software mitigate the threat of early re-entry:

Reports

All crop management software programs generate scores of information. The best systems will generate comprehensive reports that allow you to make sense and take advantage of your data's invaluable insights. With these reports, you can easily understand the cause-and-effect of your past decisions, identify developing trends, and devise informed plans for the future.

Potential reports include:

Yield Tracking

Historical data stored by farm management software allow you to review how experimental programs or other conditions affect your yields over time.

Chemical/Pesticide Inventory Management

Farm management software can automatically maintain an up-to-date inventory of your chemicals on-site based on your spray application and purchase records. Analyze and print reports on your chemical usage and minimize waste and disposal costs.

Tank Mix Calculations

Resource inventory Management (eg. tractors)

Growers can keep track of their physical resources and their operational cots with many farm management software platforms.

Farm Economics/Accounting

Keep farm financial records and documents in one single place. Track sales, expenses and capital investments

Satellite Imaging Analysis

Some systems can analyze multiple sensor inputs to produce calibrated vegetative index maps throughout the growing season. This unique calibration allows farmers to compare crop health at each growing stage for more targeted crop scouting. This enables smart in-season application decisions, helping farmers maximize yields and drive profits.

Crop Scouting

Farm management software systems may allow users to create alerts and notes during crop scouting for managers to review.

Soil Sampling & Fertility Management

Some farm software platforms can link up with soil sampling probes and deliver reports on soil moisture, temperature, and fertility straight to growers' smartphones.

Weather Monitoring

Some farm management software platforms can link up to weather monitoring systems, so that the raw data generated by the instruments can be processed and presented to the user in an easy-to-read format.

RFID

Some farm management software can be synced with RFID sensors in packhouses in order to track the movement of products throughout the building.

How do I set up farm management software?

Most farm management software systems can be set up quickly and easily. When in doubt, high-quality platforms will have a support team ready to help you get started.

Is farm management software secure? Do I need to back up my own data?

High-quality farm management software platforms take their role as custodians of your data seriously. Look for platforms that use SSL-encrypted connections by default - this is the same level of security used by online banks. And while it is extremely rare for cloud-based data to be lost, make sure your platform executes regular backups (preferably up to multiple times a day). "Belt & suspenders backups", meaning that your data is backed up on both local servers and on the cloud, are preferable. This ensures that data is not lost in the rare event that anything happens to the local servers.

Do I own the data I store on farm management software systems?

Ensure you select a farm management software platforms that recognizes you as the owner as your data. Your software system should acknowledge that you own and retain all right, title and interest in and to your data. Additionally, your data should remain yours after you provide it to the software system.

I'm not very tech savvy. Will I be able to use farm management software successfully?

Absolutely. Most farm management software are designed to be intuitive and easy-to-use. Regardless of your comfort level with technology, look for platforms that have support teams willing to offer setup help, walkthroughs, and bug support. This is a sign of an engaged, customer-focused platform.

I only need to track one aspect of my farm. Do I have to pay for all the software's features?

This depends on the platform. Some platforms are one single package; others offer à la carte options.

What payment options are available?

Some platforms insist on an annual fee. With others, you can pay per month or even pay per function.

On what devices can I use farm management software?

Many farm management software platforms are accessible on several different devices, including smartphones, iPads, and desktop computers. It's best to choose a software platform that operates on multiple device types and operating systems (e.g. iOS and Android) to accommodate the greater use of your account by decision-makers within your team, or in case you switch devices in the future.