Farmer in the field on an ipad

Solving problems with farm management software: seamless communication

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Farm management software helps you communicate and track the work on your operation—even in the face of constant change.

Farm management software helps growers solve many different types of problems. Cloud-based recordkeeping, easily accessed reports, and accurate load tracking are all benefits that can drastically alter the state of your farming operation.

While those changes are meaningful, the farm management software benefit we’ll talk about today is about the basics: the work on the ground. Good communication across your operation helps the day-to-day tasks get done and get done right. 

They say the only constant in life is change, and that’s sure true on the farm. Having one system that allows you to communicate and track the work on your operation—even in the face of constant change—is a benefit growers can’t overstate.

Everyone on the same page

Having a farm management software system means that everything is in one place, and getting everyone on the same page when it comes to all the work that needs to get done is critical. Gone are the days of people having to check in with the manager or office to know their daily tasks and accessing different files or documents to start their assignments, a process ripe for human error.

Chris Green, DIrector of Crop Strategies, BWT FarmsInstead, farm management software makes it easy for you to manage and communicate with everyone doing the work. BWT Holdings in Jackson, MN, is a great example. Their operation has grown significantly over the last decade, currently overseeing 15 independent operators who work over 16,000 acres. Moving to farm management software has been a critical move for their business. “In the beginning, it was a lot easier,” said Chris Green, BWT’s Director of Crop Strategies. “But as we continue to grow, we have 100 plus fields. It's impossible to manage the planning, the pre-spray, the post-spray, the side dressing, the fungicide. Everything that we do is impossible to manage with a spreadsheet, phone and text message.”

They use farm management software to communicate easily and quickly to each of their custom growers. "It helps with our communication tremendously. Believe it or not, so far, we haven't made a mistake yet this year,” said Green.

The ability to assign work ahead of time is something growers appreciate. Parker Merritt of MBS Family Farms in Plainfield, IA, appreciates their farm management system’s ability to help plan in advance. “It allows us to create those work orders ahead of time, so those outside helpers know what they will be doing when they arrive on site. [Then we can] release those work orders to them, indicating it’s ready to go anytime now,” he said.

“Conservis has made it very easy to communicate to the person doing the work."

-Parker Merritt, MBS Family Farms

Clear communicating about the work that needs to get done isn’t just beneficial for the managers of the operation—the workers benefit as well.

At BWT, Green feels his workers rely on work orders as much as he does for guidance and understanding of their roles. “A good example is our Hagie [sprayer] operator,” said Green. “He runs our sprayer that we're going to run over 30,000-40,000 acres, so he's got a lot of work orders staring at him in the face all the time. But if he can't find that work order, he will not even enter that field without calling me.” He appreciates that their farm management software holds both of them accountable to the work that needs to be done and gives them a solid framework for communication.

When plans change 

Weather and other variables often determine how your days look on farm, and when things are always changing, the work plans need to shift, too. Farm management software helps you run your farm efficiently despite constant changes to the plan.

Sometimes changes are day-to-day; sometimes they’re hour-to-hour. We hear over and over the value of medium to large teams all referencing one system that updates automatically. No matter the situation, communicating changes in plans to workers is simple and instant, and that makes all the difference.

Mitch Hogrefe, General Manager at BWT Holdings LLLPMitch Hogrefe at BWT recalls what it was like to adjust plans without a farm management system. “To get a written plan out to all of our guys, and try to change things on the fly, it's impossible when it's written down,” he said. Changes to the plan have gone much smoother since the adoption of their farm management software. “If we want to make a chemical or rate change, all we have to do is cancel or change a work order, send it out, and it goes to what the updated plan is,” said Hogrefe. “It makes it a lot easier to change on the fly, having something app based.”

Merritt at MBS agrees. He spoke to the ease of communicating changes to the field workers. “[It’s] very easy to update plan changes on the fly. They know in real time what that change is and sometimes they don’t know that a change even happened," he said. "It’s seamless for them to open up that work order on their phone, see what they’re supposed to be doing in that field and then go ahead and make that happen.”

“Sometimes things change quickly and being able to get those changes communicated out to everybody that needs to know is the biggest aid.” 

-Marc Nutter, Lone Star Family Farms

Real-time status of the work 

Farms have many moving parts, especially during certain times of year, with a lot of work being done at once. In busy seasons, farm management software completely changes the workflow. With one system you can reference and update in real time, keeping everyone and everything on track becomes a much simpler, streamlined task.

Lone Star Farms in Sunray, TX, uses their farm management software to manage around 55,000 acres and a growing team of mainly seasonal employees. The ability to communicate quickly and accurately to their workers is a big asset, helping them get the work done and done right. Lone Star reported that their workers submitted about 4,000 Work Order tickets last year, and of those, there were three discrepancies. “The percentage was very, very good,” said Curtis Neely, Lone Star’s Operations Manager.

The ability to see work progress in real time is something growers find value in. Lone Star Equipment Manager Scott Burdge describes the value of his farm management software app: "It's is huge for us, especially during harvest, because I'm never at the office,” he said. “I'm always in the truck, running around and you can just pull it up on the iPad. I mean, it's dummy-proof. ‘Well, that's done, that's done, that's done.’" He appreciates being able to easily see how close they are to completing the work. 

It’s also rewarding when everyone in the business—including those working from home or the office—can see the work being done on the ground. “It's been a great communication component between us in the office and the guys in the farm,” said Mollie Ficocello of Sproule Farms in Grand Forks, ND. “I can easily log in, see what they've been doing, how far they got without having to bug the guys when I know they're busy. It's been huge for communication between the farm and the office.”

There’s a lot of work to be done on the farm. Regardless of the complexity of your operation or how many times plans change in a growing season, good communication is always key. Farm management software helps make that happen.

Revolutionized recordkeeping. Easy reporting. No lost loads of crops. Better communication. Click below to hear growers talk about why they use and love Conservis farm management software. 

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