Due to poor record keeping at Redbank Farming, issues arose with managing crop rotations and meeting crop-specific needs. Owner Michael (Mike) Nichols had five agronomists providing recommendations. An outdated management system hindered spray schedule creation, causing disorganization among growers, agronomists, and contractors.
To address the challenges, Mike, along with his spray supervisor and the team of five agronomists, implemented Agworld software as a solution. This enabled them to efficiently create and manage spray schedules for the entire season, effectively tackling the issues related to crop rotations and specific crop requirements.
With everyone at the farm using Agworld, digital spray schedules are no longer written on paper where they can get dirty or lost - this visibility and accessibility to all users made it possible to increase the efficiency of the fields and crops spraying, ensuring that the right field and crop are sprayed at the correct time.
Fitting to its name, Redbank Farming boasts 1,000 acres of rolling red ground on the coast of Tasmania. Originating in 1983, it has grown to be a mixed operation of beef, poultry, and crops. The fertile ground grows a diverse mixture of crops, including; potatoes, onions, wheat, pyrethrum, poppies, barley, canola, and buckwheat.
With soil health being the differentiator between whether or not a crop is profitable, a diverse rotation plan is imperative to stave off a multitude of different diseases. To make sure a healthy and profitable crop is produced, there are five agronomists that manage the different crops.
The pains of paper
Can you imagine trying to organize and execute a spray schedule for 5+ people using paper? Especially when there are certain herbicides that, while beneficial for one crop, can kill another!
How does Redbank Farms make it happen? Agworld’s record keeping technology that makes communication easy and helps with planning and time management.
Decisions driven by data
To stay organized Mike uses Agworld to plan his crop rotations two or three years ahead at all times to forecast seed as well as chemical needs to keep him on track during the season.
Mike says: “Prices can really destroy your gross margins very quickly if you're not on top of them. In Agworld you can quite easily see, "Am I overspending on my fertilizer budget? Am I overspending on some fungicides? Do I need to cut costs?” Continues Mike “And it really shocked me on what our wheat gross margins would have been if I ran exactly the same program as last year, just with the difference of rising input costs. I realized there was going to be an increase of $800 a hectare, or even up to $1,000 a hectare spent to grow exactly the same crop this year compared to last. Which then starts to really make you think, "Well, what can I cut out of this to keep the margins where they need to be?"
Task creation, collaboration, and completion
When the season starts, the five agronomists all use Agworld to write and modify their recommendations so that the team is aware of upcoming tasks. With all the rec’s viewable from the iPad, there is no need to attempt to decipher those that have been trampled by muddy boots, or crumpled up in the cab.
A contractor himself, Mike knows how difficult it can be to schedule sprays using paper, access labels, and always have all pertinent information on hand for the QA system. Recommendations that have been created in Agworld can then be turned into work orders that can be assigned to contractors so they know when, where, and what to spray - especially important in Mike’s case. Why? Because in the world of spraying, if you don’t capture this information it can result in financial and legal repercussions. Once the job is completed it is simple to enter that in Agworld.
“There's a lot of work to be done to get everything right. But you've also got to then keep the records for the QA systems that go on behind the scenes as well. By entering the recs as you are going, converting a recommendation to an actual completed job, just makes it so much easier.”
Continuously improving through technology
Mike embraces innovation and fearlessly explores new methods to maximize farm yield. By utilizing advanced technologies like soil mapping, he gains valuable insights into precise fertilizer application, leading to cost savings and improved soil health, ultimately enhancing the overall yield.
Mike’s love for his land has led him to adopt and employ technology that guides his cropping plans. Another instance of this for Mike is using soil mapping. This gives him a clear picture of where nutrient levels are high, and where they are low…thus taking the guesswork out of whether a product should be applied. Mike saves money on products and is much clearer on which areas to focus on. It comes as no surprise that he was awarded the Australian Government in Innovation Land Management Award and currently holds the Australian wheat yield record.
"Using Agworld means that I don't need the paperwork in the cab and I can manage my spray day a lot easier, because it's all there on the iPad in front of me. Rather than trying to gather so many paper recs together that end up getting lost or filthy dirty."
Symon Allen and his family were early adopters of precision farming technology; they started to create digital farming records in Agworld in 2012, at which time they also started to variable rate seed their crops. In order to keep maximizing profit, but make the process as quick and simple as possible, they know they have to have the right equipment and partners in place.
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.