Jay Robertson and his family grow a rotation of wheat, barley and canola on 6,200 hectares of land around Kulin, in Western Australia’s eastern Wheatbelt region, while also running a flock of merino and crossbred lambs. Together with his father and two full-time staff, Jay manages all day-to-day operations for both the cropping and the livestock side of the farm. “With being a diverse farming operation, and working with a team of four people, comes a natural division of tasks. In our case for example this means that one of our workers takes care of the majority of the spraying operations,” says Jay.
Jay continues: “Because we work with a team of people, and it’s not just me doing everything by myself, it is really important for all of us to create a record of everything that we do so this information is accessible to everyone in the team as well. Because of these dynamics, I already realised more than 10 years ago that written spray records are simply not good enough for us. When one of us just writes things down in a book that lives in the spray rig, this information is really not accessible to anyone else - and therefore of no value to the team.”
When Agworld took part in a ‘technology demonstration event’ in Kulin back in 2011, the first year of operation for Agworld, Jay immediately saw the benefits of using a platform like Agworld for his farming enterprise. Jay: “Although using a ‘digital pen’ in the beginning was obviously not nearly as convenient as the iPad app we currently use, it was still a big step up from writing spray records down in a book. Having records available in digital format immediately allowed me to reference them more often and start using them when and where I need to. Already back in 2011 Agworld seemed like the smarter way to go for us and, 10 years down the track, this is absolutely still the case.
Agronomist Brad Smoker creates pre-season cropping plans and cost estimates together with Jay, performs the in-season agronomy, and creates application recommendations when needed. Jay: “For us it’s a great help that Brad uses the Agworld Platform as well, as it stops us from having to double-enter any data. Before the previous season is even finished, we already sit together and create a plan for each field for the upcoming season. This plan gives us a pretty good idea of what we’ll be doing in the next 12 months, which is quite helpful for a lot of what we do. Brad does also break down the costs of inputs and operations for us in Agworld, which is good from a financial perspective and it helps us create a budget for the operation as a whole.”
“During the season Brad regularly comes to check on our crops and make decisions on which applications we should be performing. Our sprayer operator and I join Brad on his inspection rounds so we can discuss our thoughts, know exactly what is needed in each field and we don’t run into surprises when the recommendations come through on Agworld. After we have performed the application, our sprayer operator will convert the recommendation on Agworld into an ‘actual’ record and add any additional information that is relevant to the application he just performed.”
Jay continues: “This process, from planning to creating field records, is where Agworld adds a lot of value to our operation as it cuts down on the time we have to spend on data entry. Instead of me creating a cropping plan, Brad creating recommendations, and the sprayer operator creating actuals, we now only have to enter data once. We create data when we generate the season’s plans, and then we all use this same data from that point on. Agworld saves us time, helps prevent errors, and improves the accuracy of our spray records. Because of this, we are able to use our records for different purposes, such as planning or analysis, as well.”
Jay concludes with: “When we just had written records available, we basically never used them again for any other purpose; they just sat there collecting dust. Now, when I want to know when I last seeded clover in a certain field for example, it’s easy for me to go back to a previous season in Agworld and quickly find the exact information I’m looking for. On Agworld I can also see how much we’re spending on each field per season, which is helpful when making certain decisions - like whether we’ll focus on harvesting grain or rather bale it for stock feed for example. I used to make these kinds of decisions on ‘gut feeling’, but I definitely prefer to make them based on actual data from Agworld so I’m sure I am making the right decision.”
"Agworld saves us time, helps prevent errors, and improves the accuracy of our spray records. Because of this, we are able to use our records for different purposes, such as planning or analysis, as well."Jay Robertson Kulin, WA