For growers, pre-harvest is the perfect time to take stock. Once T3 and T4 have been done and the last of the fertiliser has been applied, how can you best prepare for harvest and that all-important post-harvest analysis? Adam Joslin, Customer Success Manager at Farmplan, part of Proagrica advises growers to go back to basics and focus on good data housekeeping.
Get into good habits with data
Keeping accurate, consistent, and complete records will give you a far better understanding of what’s going on in your farm business. If you want to optimise output and profit, you need to manage what you’ve got, and to do that, you need to be able to measure how you’re performing.
“If you want to get your farm business into the best shape possible pre and post-harvest”, comments Adam, “there are some key areas to focus on”.
Tidy up your data
To avoid running into any complications later in the year give your data a bit of a tidy up. Check to make sure you’ve exported or you’re ready to export your field list, your field boundaries are correct, and check the output names match the crops types you are going to be harvesting so the products are correct in the terminal and in Gatekeeper.
Take stock of your financials
“Ideally, the harvest data you’ll be bringing in should complete the picture of how your farm business is performing”, continues Adam. That will be the case if you’ve been building up an accurate and consistent set of records all year. Good records are essential for accurate reporting and analysis, and they are a strong foundation on which you can develop your farm business.
When it comes to the financials, look at what’s been entered in Gatekeeper throughout the year. Are your fertiliser and pesticide applications up to date? Have you recorded any fixed costs? Once you import your harvest data into Gatekeeper, it gives you a cost per tonne of production. This means growers can see the cost per tonne of inputs like pesticides and fertilisers, and by inputting sale prices and yield data, they can see what they are actually making on every tonne they are selling.
Jonathan Storey, who farms 500ac of arable crops in Norfolk, says the software has helped him use his resources better and keeps track of his numbers.
Farming is changing more than ever and with inputs going through the roof we need to manage every single unit going through the spreader and sprayer to make sure it is working as hard as it can, Gatekeeper allows us to do this and pulls it through to a gross margin field by field whenever you need it.
Managing stock and doing some housekeeping of your stock data is also important. Check that the prices are against the right things and everything is in order so you can prepare for doing some cost analysis and gross margin reporting once the harvest is in.
Make sure you have connectivity with your combine
Farmplan Gatekeeper software enables seamless data exchange between machines and between machinery and manufacturer. “ Coming soon to Gatekeeper is Agrirouter, a wireless integration which will give seamless single point of connectivity, to a wide range of manufacturers” says Adam. “This will make it easier to bring data from the field to the farm office”.
Far from making farm management more complex, Agrirouter is being hailed as the next logical step in improving connectivity and collecting the data that matters.
It’s all in the analysis
For growers who want a better picture of how their farm business is performing, it’s all in the analysis. Gatekeeper has an analysis module which combines data from every part of the program in every year so you can run reports on every aspect of your data, from what you’ve purchased to what’s in stock, what fertiliser you have applied, and much more.
“We always recommend that growers head here before and after harvest”, says Adam, “this will ensure they get a detailed look at performance in every area of their operations”.
Good data matters
If you import data into incomplete or inconsistent records, the reports you create aren’t going to be as valuable. That’s why going back to basics and getting into the habit of keeping good data is essential.
But it’s not just about collecting data, the data needs to mean something so growers can make informed decisions. Jonathan Storey adds that Gatekeeper helps him do just that.
“We have such sophisticated machines now that can deliver precision decisions but we
need software to be able to handle the data so it means something,” says Jonathan. “ Gatekeeper does this so we can make decisions based on evidence. To be successful, we need to farm data as well as the soil.”