Looking back at a year of innovation: An end of year message from Piers Costley

As we approach the close of another year, I find myself reflecting on the key challenges and successes for the agriculture industry, and the customers we serve.

Piers Costley, VP of Operations

The dynamic field we work in ensures that no two years are the same, and this is the case once again when I look back at 2023. We continue to see significant pressures on farmers and growers to achieve efficiencies in the UK, as well as globally. Regardless of the size of the operation, we know our customers need support to maximise their performance now more than ever.

I take pride in the fact we have provided this support across the year through numerous product milestones, including the continued rollout of Farmplan Business Cloud, our latest advancements for Gatekeeper, and our Hardware and IT offerings going from strength to strength.

As our industry becomes more digital and connected, so must our solutions. Whilst offering future-fit support, we know we need to ensure that we take our customers with us on this journey. Our focus is to collaborate and work hand in hand with those who use our products, ensuring a constant dialogue so that our users benefit from the solutions we create.

Looking back on how we have listened and collaborated with our customers in 2023, I have to call out our successful Farmplan Business Cloud (FBC) Roadshow events. Our team held 12 in-person events  to educate and share the benefits of FBC. Meeting our customers face to face is the lifeblood of how we continue to create our innovative solutions, and receiving questions and dialogue firsthand is crucial. I can’t wait for the next series of these events that we have planned for 2024. Understandably, not everyone can always be there in person, and for those customers we were proud to have held several webinars too. I am delighted that over 600 users are already onboarded with FBC on the back of these events, and we look forward to welcoming even more of our customers to the platform in the new year.

Reflecting on Gatekeeper, we pride ourselves on how the customer voice has helped us develop this product from day one. Thousands of growers, agronomists and industry partners have been consulted to date, and this product continues to adapt to our customers’ needs. This year we were proud to unveil the latest integration between our software with the John Deere Operations CenterTM, allowing farmers additional tools to manage the demands of compliance and traceability.  Looking ahead to 2024, we will continue to develop Gatekeeper in line with the latest needs of the industry, enabling growers to increase yields and find efficiencies.

Finally, I want to call out an incredibly busy year for our Hardware and IT offering. 2023 has seen a huge amount of vital work carried out to support our customers, with our anti-virus software upgrades and our network installations in particular having extremely strong uptake across the year.

I close the year feeling incredibly optimistic for 2024. At Progarica Farmplan, our success is directly linked to our customers’ success. We remain committed to equipping farmers and growers with innovative solutions that enable sustainable growth for their businesses, and we cannot wait to continue this journey next year in full collaboration with our customers.

From everyone here at Farmplan, I wish you and your families a fantastic Christmas break, and a happy New Year.

Latest developments in agronomic and business data solutions on show at LAMMA 2024

Farmplan is set to attend LAMMA 2024 on the 17th and 18th January, showcasing farm business management solutions that enable farmers, growers and agricultural business owners to make informed decisions that drive productivity and profitability.

Among the solutions on display on stand 520 in hall 10 will be Farmplan’s Gatekeeper crop management solution. Gatekeeper enables farmers and growers to manage records, analyse performance and improve workflow efficiency in crop management activities. Farmplan announced in early 2023 that was set for significant development to accelerate the release of enhanced cloud functionality, offering an easy to use online crop recording system designed for compliance, traceability and crop input record keeping.

Farmplan also makes data transferring for Gatekeeper more seamless with the integration of different machinery manufacturers. This enables farmers and growers to connect their agricultural machinery with agricultural software solutions, offering more efficiencies when in the field. This will be demonstrated in the Connectivity Corner of the stand at LAMMA with the latest integrations from leading machinery manufacturers such as John Deere’s Operation Center and Agrirouter.  

The team will also be showcasing Farmplan Business Cloud (FBC), the online accounting software package specifically designed for farming. FBC enables users to streamline financial management processes and provides additional business and enterprise performance visibility. This cloud-based software is better suited to the needs of the market and is future-proofed for the forthcoming MTD for ITSA (Making Tax Digital, Income Tax Self-Assessment) requirements from HMRC.

Ben Hatton, Sales and Key Account Manager

Cloud options are becoming ever-present throughout all businesses, and keeping systems connected, and integrated, helps customers to stay on top of the financial and administration side of running their business as well as the day-to-day decision-making demands of farming life.

“We are delighted to be returning to LAMMA for 2024, and are delighted to be able to continue to support this pivotal agricultural event,” says Ben Hatton, Sales and Key Account Manager for Farmplan. “Our mission for 2024 is to support our customers with their upgrade to cloud-based farm management software. So if you’re looking to move to our cloud solutions or are interested in finding out more about our plans for the future, visit our stand and we’ll talk you through your next steps. We want to support our customers in the switch to our cloud base solutions, making it as easy and stress-free as possible.”

FBC provides a comprehensive financial management solution for farmers and growers alike, enabling them to manage their finances, track their expenses, and generate reports. Recent customer feedback received suggests that FBC being specifically designed for farming businesses gives it great strength, and the insights it provides can support informed business decisions in a user-friendly and quick manner backed by a dedicated support team. If you would like to understand more about how our solutions can help maximise your farm’s performance and optimise growth, visit the Farmplan stand at LAMMA 2024.

Software is our business, Farming is our focus.

Having the right software is vital to growing your business. Without it, modern farming can be challenging. For over 50 years, Farmplan has provided trusted farm management software for growers, agronomists and accountants and is here to help you confidently move your business foward.

What products do we offer?

We aim to make farming more efficient, so you can be more productive. Stay fully connected in the field and minimise time spent in the office with real-time cloud-based software solutions.

Business Cloud

Simply smarter farm business accounts software tailor-made for agriculture.

  • Simple to use & time-saving
  • Streamline collaboration with team
  • Automate transactions & reduce errors

Learn more about Farmplan Business Cloud


Complete crop recording and field management solutions for growers, agronomists and consultants.

  • Crop compliance, traceability & reporting
  • Full compatibility & integration
  • Connect with your agronomist

Learn more about Gatekeeper

Hardware and IT services

The right equipment for your business will get you working in no time.

  • Anti-virus software
  • Range of computers and accessories
  • Hardware support

Learn more about our hardware offerings

How we help businesses like yours overcome challenges

Over 8,500 farms, professionals and agricultural businesses are already reaping the rewards of a well-managed business with Farmplan software.

Farmplan has saved me hours of work, from neatly reporting to quick updates on the go.

Damian Barson, Tessleymoor Farming

Are you ready to boost productivity?

Get started today, book a 1-2-1 demo with our friendly customer services team, and find out how Farmplan solutions can help you achieve more with less.

Breaking down barriers to migration: Make the move to cloud-based farm management tools today

The team was excited to exhibit at Cereals 2023 this year, the biggest occasion in the arable calendar. The event showcased the latest in arable farming as well as provided the opportunity to listen to talks by leading industry experts and served as a chance to have some very interesting conversations.

On the stand, we were able to talk to many farmers and agriculture businesses, big and small, about our farm management software and IT solutions and how they can transform the way farm businesses are run.

The hot topic that came up time and time again in our conversations with farmers was rural connectivity. Most of the concerns raised were around how farmers can be supported to move their businesses towards a digital future when rural connectivity is still poor in some areas.

Poor connectivity is not an obstacle to digital farm management

The team had many discussions around the use of our farm management tools such as Farmplan Business Cloud (FBC) and Gatekeeper Cloud (GKC) with many farmers asking if poor connectivity would be an obstacle to using them.

We are happy to reassure any farmers looking to adopt our digital tools that it isn’t. It may surprise you to learn that they only require an internet speed of 1MBps (1 Megabyte per second) to run, which means that even with relatively poor or slow connectivity, farmers can still manage their farm businesses and collaborate with stakeholders in real time.

While digital products like FBC and GKC do require an internet connection to run, they don’t need a lot of speed or bandwidth. For farmers who are worried about this issue, this is what we’d like you to know. If you are already doing your taxes online as per the MTD (Making Tax Digital) regulations, you already have the connectivity that’s necessary to run FBC and GKC.

Help with the transition to digital farm management

We’ve been developing farm data management solutions for almost 50 years and 65% of our team have more than a decade of agricultural experience. In fact, more than 8,500 farms, professionals, and agriculture businesses trust our digital farm management products.

We understand the issues that farmers face, and we know that rural connectivity is an important one. That’s why we work closely and patiently with customers to address any concerns while helping them transition smoothly to digital farm management.

The benefits of adopting cloud-based tools

Instead of getting by with cumbersome spreadsheets and paper records, our cloud-based tools like FBC and GKC allow farmers to input, access, and share data in real time, from any location, which makes for a much easier and flexible way of working.

Imagine having more time to focus on the farm tasks that matter, instead of spending it on onerous data entry. Being able to access and share data from any device, whether you’re in the office or the field. Seamlessly sharing data with your accountant or agronomist. Having the ability to analyse your business in detail so you know which areas of your business are performing well and where there’s room for improvement. It’s all possible with tools like GKC.

Our customers overwhelmingly tell us that once we’ve helped them with the transition to digital farm management, they’ve never looked back, and it’s allowed their businesses to thrive. Many of those same customers are located in areas with poor connectivity, but it hasn’t held them back.

Get connected to future proof your farm business

In uncertain and challenging times for farmers, improving productivity, profitability, and sustainability is essential for future success. With our range of farm management tools, farmers can future proof their farm businesses even without a super-fast internet connection.

For farmers who are considering migrating to digital farm management, our expert team are on hand to offer tailored farm-focused help and advice, call 01594 545000 or email farmplansales@proagrica.com

Farmplan Business Cloud now offers tools to improve cost-savings for customers

  • Latest update allows farmers to easily keep track of their costs, as well as analyse key trends and wider commercial performance
  • Access to commercial data has never been more critical for farmers

Farmplan, part of Proagrica, has today announced a new enhancement to Farmplan Business Cloud to expand the management information which can be recorded and reported on in Farmplan Business Cloud.

In the current economic climate where commercial margins are under pressure, it has never been more important for customers to be able to access critical quantities and pricing information.

In addition to being able to enter quantity and price against all purchase and sales invoices, farmers who use Farmplan Business Cloud will now have the ability to record quantities and prices within all data entry screens. They can also drill down on these details or export them for more detailed analysis of trends. This latest feature promises both clarity and opportunities for cost-saving, in a straightforward format.

Farmplan, part of Proagrica is made up of agricultural experts, and is renowned for its hands-on, timely customer care. This update is the latest effort to provide additional benefits to existing customers and crucially, facilitate those moving to the cloud from desktop platforms.

Anne Cianchi, Product Manager, commented:

“With this enhancement, farmers can now easily keep track of their costs, as well as trends and performance. In fact, quantities can be recorded in all data entry screens, including journals/adjustments, which many other comparable packages simply do not do. By keeping track of quantities used and unit prices paid it is possible to anticipate the impact on the business of future price changes. In essence it means farmers can make informed business decisions going forward based on tangible figures, which in the current economic climate is more crucial than ever.”

According to our survey, 33% of respondents have already started utilizing the new feature for recording quantities, with a significant 70% of those rating the enhancement with an impressive 4 or 5 out of 5. This upgrade has been highly regarded for its ability to offer a much-appreciated level of detail in reporting and pricing, ultimately leading to improved accuracy in cost attribution and simplified reporting processes. Users have expressed their satisfaction with the latest release, as it allows them to effectively monitor price changes, track stock levels, and determine average unit price.

To learn more about Farmplan Business Cloud and Farmplan, please click here.

Top Tips to get the most from your year-end process

It’s that time again. Farm businesses across the UK are going through their year-end process – a necessary but often daunting task. However, this does also offer the chance to take stock internally, determining how your business is performing and what you can achieve this year.

Anne Cianchi, Product Manager at Farmplan, the UK’s leading agricultural software specialists, has shared some general advice and tips to help you get the most out of your year-end process and set a strong base for the next twelve months.

VAT changes

From 1st April 2022, the rules are changing due to the Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative. All VAT-registered businesses – including those below the current £85,000 turnover threshold who were previously exempt – will now need to make the switch to MTD or risk incurring penalties.

“These changes mean that you need to manage your VAT digitally using approved software,” says Anne. “If you’re still cut and pasting with spreadsheets or recording transactions in ledgers, this won’t be enough. Approved software, such as Farmplan’s Business Cloud and Business Manager, is required by HMRC.

“This can be intimidating for those yet to make the switch. However, we’ve seen that businesses often underestimate just how smooth the switchover will be – and how many other benefits to efficiency and insight into your business will result.”

Be early and organised

Anne advises against waiting until your tax return is due. Acting early and making sure everything is in order is key.

“Make sure that all your records are complete, and all invoices are entered,” says Anne. “Chase anything up that needs to come in and check that the balance in your software matches that in your bank account, so you can reconcile any differences.”

Information is most useful the more current it is. If you wait, its value is greatly diminished. Acting straight after the year end helps you to know what went well in the last year and immediately make any changes that could benefit your business.

Review your figures and processes

According to Anne, many errors picked up by accountants are relatively minor and can often be identified with a quick check before sending.

“Do your figures look reasonable?” says Anne. “Give them a scan and see if anything stands out as not looking quite right. Most of us have an idea of our major sales and purchases. Drill down into any figures that seem strange.”

“It’s also worth reviewing processes at the same time. Is the system you’re using, giving you everything you need or do you only have a broad overview of your business performance? For example, it might be worth setting up enterprises to see how different aspects of your farm are performing individually, instead of just as a whole.”

“The year-end process is the perfect time to take stock of all the information available to you. Although the admin and time required can feel stressful, view it as an opportunity to gain value from a full year’s worth of data and make progress going forward.”

Greater flexibility with North Herts Farmers link in Business Manager

As part of our Data & Tech Series we’re looking at integration and how the addition of simple tools and features in our software can make a real difference for our customers. With partners like North Herts Farmers, a straightforward link that enables the import of invoice data has helped save time and streamline processes every day.

With our latest release of our flagship accounts software solution, Business Manager came some exciting news for North Herts Farmers members. We unveiled new functionality which enables users to import all the detail from their bi-monthly invoice in just a few clicks. Helping save time and room for error with minimal manual input required.

James Williams, North Herts Farmers says, “We are proud to have worked with Farmplan to provide this facility for members. The North Herts Farmers administration is an extension of our members administration so if we can minimise the amount of extra work and duplicate entry that our members are having to do then that’s a huge benefit.

We have members who have been using the system and are really enjoying the ability to import their data. Its quicker, easier and almost completely removes the chances for human error.

We plan to keep working with Farmplan to develop this further and for the facility to be even more valuable to our mutual members/clients. If members would like to receive their data upload electronically then please get in touch.”

Simon Eagle, Regional Account Manager for Farmplan adds,  “We work closely with buying groups like North Herts Farmers to understand ways we can improve the use of our software and as such we have been able to offer this functionality to help members save time and improve their invoice management process. Not only that but this functionality is included as part of existing subscriptions, so there are no additional charges.”

Marianne Venn, Rural Administrator in Bedfordshire adds, “I have completed my first import from North Herts Farmers, which was very easy to match up.  Details came over very well.  Overall I’m really pleased and this will certainly help save me time when processing these invoices.”

If you’d like to find out more about Business Manager software, click here or call sales on 01594 545000

Unlock a decade’s worth of useful data insights with Farmplan’s Business Manager

Farmplan, the UK’s leading agricultural software specialists, have announced a major new update for all existing customers of their industry-leading Business Manager solution. The update will allow users to view and interrogate up to ten years’ worth of their data in just a click, giving farmers the chance to unlock extra value without requiring any additional input.

Business Manager uses are now able to compare figures over a ten-year span both as P&L (Profit & Loss) and Cashflow. Previously, it was only possible to create comparisons between the current and previous year. With this greater access comes greater insight – farm businesses can measure their performance in the long-term and make more informed decisions as a result.

Data can also now be examined more closely, focusing on specific enterprises down to a granular level. For example, a dairy farm can – using their decade’s worth of data – analyse the following and more:

  • Pence/litre of milk
  • Income per litre
  • Profit per litre

Analysis can go even further to give the farmer unprecedented insight into every facet of their business; for example in a dairy enterprise, the user can identify the cost of production, such as the amount and cost of food used per cow and, ultimately, determine the actual profit per litre over a period of their choosing. Equally this could be applied to an arable enterprise to look at the cost of production per tonne or per hectare over time. All data can be used to instantly generate representative graphs and charts as desired.

Behind the scenes, small tweaks have also made importing and exporting of data simpler and more intuitive than ever before. Invoices and journals can be imported directly via CSV file – with members of North Herts Farmers now able to import their information directly, along with AF Group and Fram Farmers members – thus eliminating the need to enter data more than once, saving time and resources.

“This represents a significant upgrade for Business Manager users,” says Sally Ashwell, Product Coordinator at Farmplan. “Farmers will now be able to measure and guide their business performance to an unprecedented degree. These changes don’t mean a revolution for your systems or require adjustment in terms of operation. Instead, it makes Business Manager smarter at a fundamental level, unlocking more value from your existing data than has never been possible before.”