Harnage Estates upgrade to Gatekeeper from rival crop recording program
Harnage Estates are new to Gatekeeper having upgraded from an alternative crop recording program in the last 18 months. In this short space of time, Simon, Doug and James who manage the estate’s farms have fully embraced Gatekeeper which they have successfully integrated with their agronomist, farm operators and precision farming equipment.
Harnage Estates farm 1430 hectares of land across Shropshire which includes 500 hectares on a separate farm holding situated 20 miles from the main estate. A Network version of Gatekeeper is installed at the estate office and offers concurrent data access for multiple users at the same time.
The estates contract farm is managed through an additional Gatekeeper computer providing the ability to work remotely and independently from the network. The Gatekeeper data is merged together from both of the farms via the secure online data facility. This ensures that Simon, James and Doug as well as other Gatekeeper users in the business are able to access the same up-to-date records.
Doug commented: “Updating information in Gatekeeper is simple. We synchronise our systems daily which ensures the data is consolidated and available to everyone in the business who use Gatekeeper. This is vital when working from different locations”.
The estate also has a responsibility to supply records to key stakeholders who require regular information with regards to the contract farm. Reports such as crop growing valuations and traceability reports are generated in Gatekeeper.
The estate employs the service of an agronomist who uses Gatekeeper to produce pesticide and fertiliser recommendations for the farms. At the beginning of each season, Simon will supply the agronomist with a revised field list. This exchange of data allows both grower and agronomist systems to work from the same standard information. Recommendations are then sent to the farm managers where they are ready to be given to the spray operators. The Sentinel Active module is used on both the main network and Doug’s stand-alone installations to ensure that all pesticide applications and records pass through vigorous verification checks before they leave the office. Doug adds:
“We recently had an Assured Produce inspection and thanks to Gatekeeper, we were able to produce the information that was required at a click of a button”.
Recommendations also include Nutrient application plans which are verified against the Planet RB209 decision support tool which forms part of Gatekeeper. Once the field applications have been logged in Gatekeeper, a copy of the records are published back to the agronomist to complete the process. This can be a daily update during the busy part of the season. The integration between Harnage Estates and its agronomist is invaluable and offers significant savings in time, office work whilst preventing costly errors.
The Gatekeeper Web App is used across both farms to collect application records in the field. Data is wirelessly passed from Gatekeeper to the operator’s smartphones and tablets allowing them to complete the agronomists spray sheets as they complete the work. Vital information such as times, quantities, operator details and health and safety check lists can all be entered.
“The Web Apps have been highly beneficial and give us a lot of control. They allow us to update records as we work rather than having to repeat the whole process once we have finished.”
To date, Gatekeeper’s main use has been as a business management tool. Invoices for the farms inputs and outputs are entered onto Gatekeeper to build vital financial analysis across the farms, fields, crops and varieties under the estates management. Gatekeeper’s ability to maintain stock inventory records for multiple farms on the same system has proved highly beneficial for Harnage who are able to keep two accurate in-stock accounts for both farm locations. In addition, the Gatekeeper Contract Business module provides separate invoicing addresses for purchases and sales for both home and contract farming operations. The additional Budget Module has been used to great effect when ordering this seasons seed. The budgets were created using the planned rotations for the upcoming season and provided a shopping list of seed products that were required.
Simon added: “with Gatekeeper, we can now effectively control purchase and spend and manage both farms effectively”.
Moving forward with Gatekeeper, Harnage Estates recognise that integrating more precision data will provide them with a one-stop-shop for all of their field records and precision farming information. Simon expanded:
“We use AgLeader displays to variably apply fertiliser, we do our own sampling and we have a lot of valuable data such as yield maps which can be used to make informed management decisions. Our aim is to make more of this in the coming seasons”.
“Gatekeeper is essential for our compliance and traceability requirements. It is s self-developing; the more you use the software the more you get out of it. We wouldn’t be without it”
Benefits of Gatekeeper for Harnage Estate
- On-the-go record keeping via an operators smartphone or tablet
- Carry out vital financial analysis
- Improved forward planning
- Simplified the passing of assurance inspections
- Links with ag leader displays
We recently had an Assured Produce inspection and thanks to Gatekeeper, we were able to produce the information that was required at a click of a button.
With Gatekeeper, we can now effectively control purchase and spend and manage both farms effectively.
The Web Apps have been highly beneficial and give us a lot of control. They allow us to update records as we work rather than having to repeat the whole process once we have finished.
Gatekeeper is essential for our compliance and traceability requirements. It is s self-developing; the more you use the software the more you get out of it. We wouldn’t be without it.