Running a farm isn’t an easy task and oftentimes, it might even seem like an uphill battle. Managing crops, overseeing production, keeping tabs on all activities, and trying to juggle finances is overwhelming and takes years of experience to assess properly.
Even then, running a farm can, and will, still pose a myriad of challenges that can leave you wondering, when did you make that wrong turn in your management duties.
In such a tough environment, it’s only simple to look for that extra “oomph” that will help you gain the upper hand.
Having a piece of software at hand to help you out with your everyday challenges won’t only make your life easier, but it will also have the potential to improve every aspect of your farming business. A great solution can improve your efficiency, decrease production costs, increase profits, and overall productivity while you are left with more free time on your hands.
Sounds too good to be true? That might be the case, but such solutions do exist and they are simply referred to as Farming Management Software.
About Farm Management Software
All in all, these solutions may include websites, computer programs, and mobile applications built specifically for businesses in agriculture, to help farmers make better and more informed decisions regarding their operations and everyday tasks.
In most cases, these solutions will help with the following processes:
- Helps streamline staff management
- Improves record-keeping
- Optimizes organization on all levels
- Helps comply with regulatory demands
- Improves sustainability
- Monitors activities, overall costs, helps balances finances, and improve profitability
These are the most common features of solutions, however, there are several management systems on the market that are created with specific functions in mind for niche sectors.
On the other hand, you have a handful of specific systems that help with running specific aspects of the business and overall operations.
Budgeting and Forecasting Software
These solutions are designed to help you organize financial tasks better. From estimating future expenses and possible revenue to estimating possible profit margins and return on investment, these applications help both farmers and bankers to make smarter fiscal moves.
Precision Agriculture Software
Precision agriculture solutions help ensure profitability by boosting sustainability and efficiency. They help farmers make activities more accurate and controlled. Tech like GPS-based soil sampling, drones, and automated hardware can help lower costs, speed up maintenance, and production tasks while making farming more eco-friendly.
Broadacre Cropping Software
Created to improve crop management, these software solutions monitor and optimize crop production. Apart from that, they also help with creating compliance reports, audits as they keep crop records up to date. The data then enables farmers, agronomists, and workers to streamline corporations across the board.
Commodity Management Software
These solutions are designed for managing commodity inventories. They also track cash flow, logistics, and finances. They do a great job in making sales more efficient and they can also help in making smarter marketing decisions.
Livestock and Mixed Farming Software
These programs enable farmers to record data about livestock throughout their lifecycle. From tracking animal numbers to other measurable data, they can also help monitor grazing, pasture rotations, feeding plans, and may also provide the necessary financial monitoring to enable making better sales profits in the end.
Generally speaking, the ideal solution is reliable, easy to read, understandable, and makes things easier for the farmer. On the other hand, these programs should also have impeccable safety features.
Also, a good software solution should have both online and offline features, a connection to the cloud with real-time data sharing capabilities. Simply put, these features allow farmers to keep one eye on their business and to delegate tasks whenever they need to.
Who would Benefit from Farm Management Software?
Simply put, every farm on every scale can benefit from running such a solution. These programs give farmers the opportunity to have a better overview of what’s happening with their business while enabling them to raise productivity, efficiency, and decrease costs in a sustainable, eco-friendly way.
That being said, using a farm management software isn’t reserved only for large-scale operations. Smaller farms can also reap the benefits of making data-driven decisions. Increased predictability, more sustainable processes, decreased pesticide, fertilizer, and herbicide use should be accessible to all farms, no matter on what scale they operate on.
The farmers themselves aren’t the only ones who can make good use of these pieces of software.
For starters, agronomists can access all the relevant info they need via the app, making the convo between them and the farmers more streamlined and efficient.
On the other hand, workers can also keep tabs on their assigned tasks conveniently.
Main Features of Farm Management Software
There has been a lot of talk about the benefits of certain solution types. Here are the main features that make these programs so valuable.
- Paddock management – Helping you with recording and managing everything from planting and spraying through fertilization to harvesting.
- Farm mapping – Enables you to create a more accessible overview of your farm/fields and improve monitoring.
- Inventory management – Improve storage monitoring by recording all incoming materials and keeping track of what you’ve used.
- Task and staff management – Simplified work hour tracking, more streamlined task issuing, with easy-to-understand info regarding details, location, assignments, and so on.
- Reports – Accurate records and tracking important metrics can help you lower production costs, improve return on investment, and help track other important factors such as yield history, and weather information.
- Scouting – Find critical crop spots fast and keep an eye on your fields at all times.
- Agricultural and financial analysts – Compare current and previous seasons to learn from mistakes and make examples of successful seasons. The data is automatically stored so comparing yield, management costs, planned revenue, and so on, becomes easy.
- Regulatory compliance and audits – Know all the necessary regulations, inform yourself about the latest laws, to help you prepare your reports and audits in a simpler, more streamlined manner.
- Tracking and traceability – Monitor your produce from start to finish. A great way to increase supply chain visibility. Also, these features help improve risk management.
- Weather monitoring – Accurate and up-to-date weather information is an essential factor in agriculture and software can help you get the most out of mother nature’s unpredictability.
What to Look For
If you’ve used similar software in the past, you know that the features are quintessential, but not the only ones that make an FMS stand out. To get the best possible software that will cater to all your needs, you should also make sure that they are:
- Usable both online and offline – Have your data always at the ready, no matter where and when.
- Mobile and desktop versions – Being able to access your data from all devices can help you spend less time glued to your computer and enables you to oversee your processes virtually and in-person simultaneously.
- Ease of use – It’s almost redundant to say but a good piece of software is something that’s simple to understand and even simple to master. Look for an intuitive option that’s easy to navigate and makes total sense every time you launch it.
- Security and cloud backup options – In today’s day and age, cloud storage should be a must, enabling you to access your data from anywhere where there’s an internet signal. Needless to say, these features should be secure as well.
- Data privacy – Since we’ve mentioned security, you should also make sure that your data is totally safe within the system and is accessible only to you and the accounts you grant authority to.
- Data sharing in real-time – Look for an option that can host multiple users and lets you share the data with ease.
Farm Management Software for Grain Growers
Good farm management software can help everyone in the industry, including grain growers.
Crop planning is undoubtedly the most crucial part of grain farm operations. Solid planning can increase yield, save money, time, and can increase sustainability.
Apart from that, soil sensors that measure soil moisture and temperature will help determine the optimal time for spraying and fertilizing.
Software can also help in the harvest period as well, simply enabling you to keep an eye on the entire process.
Farm Management Software for Everyone
As you can see, no matter the scale of an operation, farm management software can help out any farm by collecting and displaying all the necessary information and metrics a business will ever need to optimize its management, finances, and operations.
From growing stocks to keeping livestock, a good FMS is pretty much a must-have nowadays.