NEWS & ARTICLE

Farm Management Software

It would be the most asked question from farmers looking to take a dive into the world of Farm Management Software – Which is the best for my farm?

So…. Is it for row crop? Orchard? Broad acre? Protected Cropping?

Why should I pay for a program when there are free apps available?

This seems to be where the enthusiasm lapses and the frustration kicks in.

So, what is software?

Software solves problems. It was created because someone identified a problem, expressed it as a set of tasks, and then created a computer-based approach to create a solution. It can be operated from a desktop, laptop, tablet notebook or smartphone or be accessed from an Internet-based platform. Less traditional, but increasingly common, is software embedded in devices, i.e., tractors, irrigation systems and weather stations, either individually or as part of a suite of interconnected digital tools.

What does a wine maker from South Australia have in common with a potato grower from Victoria, a cotton farmer from NSW and a pineapple grower from Far North Queensland? The answer is they all depend on timely and accurate data to run their businesses. Good information helps producers to make important decisions every day, including when to sow, irrigate, fertilise, spray, or harvest their crops, as well as how to manage land degradation issues such as erosion. In an ideal world, a perfect forecast would be invaluable as we would know exactly when and what to do in our agricultural enterprises. Farm management software can offer a digital solution that is available to the grower at anytime, anywhere, regardless of location. Decisions can be made and actioned.

Until recently, many farmers relied on little more than a rain gauge, radio weather updates and sheer luck to monitor, interpret and manage the impacts of Mother Nature. But increasingly, producers of all ages and backgrounds are clicking on to the Internet in search of more reliable short- and long-term weather information. Others are setting up weather stations to monitor conditions on their own property. These new technologies are taking much of the guesswork out of weather forecasting and helping them to make better business decisions. And as any primary producer will tell you, informed choices can lead to lower costs, improved efficiency, and increased profits, as well as better weed management and land care outcomes.

Farm management software centralises, manages, and optimizes the production activities and operations of farms. With farm management software, farmers can become strategic and efficient in their daily farm-related tasks and responsibilities. Farm management software automates the recording and storage of farm data, monitors, and analyses farm activities and consumption, and tracks business expenses and farm budgets. Additionally, the software can support farm financial management with accounting programs, farm planning and procurement functionality, and marketing and budgeting tools.

While farm management software can solve overlapping production and yield concerns, the scope of the former is larger and more comprehensive. Furthermore, specialized farm management software solutions exist, tailoring the record-keeping and farm production monitoring functionalities to the specific business needs of all types of agribusinesses.

Thanks to crop production history analysis, farm management software is transforming the way farmers do their jobs in a big way, allowing them to make better decisions and use less water, fertilizer, or pesticide. As a result of big data, farmers can obtain timely information about pests and weed outbreaks, allowing them to apply pesticides only once instead of multiple times during the growing season. Farm management software impacts all aspects of agriculture. It spans the entire spectrum of farm yield optimization, food safety management and supply chain visibility. The use of Farm Management Software by farmers is aimed at increasing yield. Big data is a term used to describe large datasets that are gathered from different sources, including satellites, sensors on tractors, and plant or soil probes. These datasets provide a great deal of information about agricultural production without requiring extensive manual labour. All of this is considered, from soil conditions to weather patterns to fertiliser levels. Sometimes, these big data sets may also contain precise geographic coordinates associated with each piece of information captured by the sensor networks, which allows for detailed analysis at this level as well.

Agriculture is one of the key areas of big data analytics where the collection and analysis of data plays an important role. Farmers are using software solutions to monitor their crops while increasing efficiency, which has led to the agriculture industry developing a lot over the past few years. Instead of guessing what crops will grow best (based on experience and maybe some data), farmers can now determine when to plant their land for optimum and profitable yields. Farmers then can plan when to harvest and collate actual date that produces metrics and analytics for historical and future events. Data has revolutionized farming to enable Farm Management Software to more effectively manage assets.

Managers of agricultural operations can also benefit greatly from Farm Management Software and the big data analytics systems. By knowing when to spray or harvest, how much grain to store for future needs, and so forth, they enable farmers to manage their operations more efficiently. Big data analysis, for example, can help managers to decide where to plant crops, farmers need to know as much about their environment as they do about themselves. Using big data and new environmental factors, big data systems can predict what crops will grow most successfully based on variables like how much rain fell and temperature.

Big data analytics and Farm Management Software platforms can integrate past information with current environmental variables like temperature or rainfall, as measured by field sensors. This was difficult for plant scientists in the past, but big data simplifies it. Agriculture is not the only industry experiencing the big data revolution. Tourism and manufacturing are also experiencing it and may be tightly connected with agriculture. Business practices have changed because it makes finding new customers and partners easier and has enabled new industries–the sharing economy, for instance–to emerge. Big data and dedicated software revolutionized many aspects of agriculture, from planning future farms with precision to analysing crop yields across different regions and making better decisions accordingly to predicting prices of goods based on trends in demand. New developments in farm management software are changing the way we do farming, and the trend will continue.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to Farm Management Software. You might spend an hour a week or maybe an hour a month entering data into a program. Or you might spend a couple of hours, once a year entering information into a program such as excel. Knowing what happens on your farm historically leads to more sound decision making. One of the main benefits of farm management software is record keeping. It can produce almost any report to do with crop data that is needed at any point in time.

The farm management software market is estimated to register its largest market share in 2026, by farm production planning. The main driver for the farm management software market in the production planning segment is the increasing implementation of cloud computing in real-time farm data management, growing population, and subsequent rise in demand for food worldwide and strengthening of intellectual property rights over agricultural innovations. The farm management software market for data analytics services is growing rapidly due to the increasing need for real-time data management through cloud computing, government support to encourage adoption of modern agricultural techniques, and increasing use of agriculture software to maintain farm efficiencies.

FW Agronomy has partnered with Minnesota based FarmQA to deliver arguably the best Farm Management Software Platform to Australian Farmers. With FarmQA, farmers get ownership of their business and soon understand why the information they get is important and see firsthand how technology can work for them. Farmers need to understand technology themselves and not rely on others. FW Agronomy provides that digital support to engage with farmers and their trusted partners to ensure they maximise the potential that a farm management software platform such as FarmQA can deliver.

Having supported primary producers for over thirty years, Feedworks and their Agronomic subsidiary FW Agronomy, understand the importance of engaging with their customers when new technology is implemented on farm. The carnage from innovation such as Farm Management Software can be brutal and leave a lasting albeit negative Impression on those users. A carefully managed onboarding process sets FW Agronomy apart. Understanding the process that needs to happen whilst acknowledging that the farmer still has many tasks and duties to perform, allows the technical support to not overwhelm rather encourage and walk the path together.

In conclusion technology advancements are moving at a fast pace with new programs and/or updates frequently available. Farm management software programs provide growers with a range of options to improve productivity and profitability. However, as a recurring theme, growers in regional and remote areas can have their businesses constrained by the inability to access equivalent technology as those situated close to major urban areas. The primary uses of farm management software include record keeping for compliance, financial reporting (such as cost analysis, forecasting, modelling), crop and/or farm management (such as chemical and fertilizer management), farm mapping, uploads, and transfers to external parties (such as agronomists, equipment servicers) and identification and traceability. As margins becoming tighter and market competition increases, effective use of farm management software by vegetable growers will be increasingly essential. Ongoing awareness, education and training are critical. Farmers need to be made aware of the benefits that farm management software programs provide to increase the rate of technology adoption and use. Industry communication pathways such as magazines, case studies, conferences and field days must continue to promote the use of such programs. Peak industry bodies and the Australian government should provide education and training opportunities for farmers to learn about the capabilities of new technology, including social media, to reduce hesitation in use and assist in the change behaviour process.

FW Agronomy is committed is to raise awareness and enhance knowledge of farm management software programs so that farmers and all industry players have the capacity to make informed decisions in the purchase and/or use of farm management software.

In the future, more farming operations will be multifaceted, growing more than one crop. Profitability will remain a priority driver, with a higher need for reliable real time information. As new technology emerges, farmers will need to become increasingly savvy to leverage its potential. Younger people entering the vegetable industry will be better educated with higher computer skills, harnessing technology for operational activities including e-commerce and business-to-business transactions.

For many farmers, the paper shuffling required to manage business activities (such as quality assurance compliance and financial management) is not easy to maintain, with many turning to software programs and mobile technology to facilitate management and upkeep of their business activities and manage the increasing complexity and volume of data. Selecting the appropriate programs for use will depend on the farmers skills and goals for their business. Choices will be based on the needs of each farmer and must be assessed individually.

FAQs

What does farm management software do?

Farm management software helps the farmer to make more informed production and operational decisions. The farmer becomes acquainted with tools that put fieldwork and paperwork under one single window of control, making it simpler than ever go get an overview of the farm. Specifically, farm management software enables the collection, processing, storage, and dissemination of data in the form of information that helps to carry out the operations of the farm.  This data can be related to land use, inputs, product price, and others.  Even personal records and financial production data is helpful for farmers to analyse to make decisions that can increase operational efficiency. Farm management software also works in real-time to help prevent waste and damage. The software captures both scheduled and on-going activities along with the consumption of resources and costs employed, for every activity on the farm.

What software is used for agriculture?

Computer programmes, mobile applications and websites are the key software components that support daily use across Agricultural production. Agricultural software provides the farmer with a holistic view of all farm activities and inputs through a single platform, which enables efficient planning, the capacity to track activities in real-time and thus make the right decisions.  Agricultural software can suggest the timing of all farm activities, appropriate pest control measures and application of suitable fertilizer. Agricultural software is inbuilt with team collaboration features so that it can be accessed by multiple users, across the farming operation, as well as by trusted partners.

What are the four types of farm records?

  • Crop Management Records include data capture of planting, variety, harvest, and yield. This would include details including dates, weather, in season events such as tissue and soil testing. Maintaining journals for seasonal, annual, or perennial crops enables the user to access records and data, whether that means actual, historical or future.
  • Crop Input records include the recording of all nutrition and crop protection events across allocated seasons and timings. The benefit of historical data capture in this format enables transparency and accountability, especially when dealing with third party organisations and industry compliance bodies.
  • Crop Scouting Records include all detailed observations that are made across the growing season. Examples include disease or weed pressures that may impact plant health and ultimately yield. Events that are recorded over time that assist the farmer in diagnosing problems that may be soil related or environmental.
  • Production Records, include data that captures and measures the complete productivity of the land and the success of the farming operation. Using software, the ability to forensically study things like variety against yield production can greatly improve profitability of the farming operation.

What is farm operating system?

Farm operating systems are an assemblage of components which are united by some form of interaction and interdependence, and which operate within a prescribed boundary to achieve a specified agricultural objective on behalf of the beneficiaries of the system. They require flexible architectures to support the high levels of functionality and effectiveness which are prerequisite to their adoption by the farmers and industry personnel. From a practical production, administration, and management point of view, ‘all agriculture’ can be regarded as consisting of sets of systems at varying levels of generality. Farm operating systems consist of subsystems which go to make up a farm. They consolidate in a single entity all the farm fixed capital, all the operating capital, all the final-product enterprises, all the activities and all the agronomical processes which underlie such enterprises and activities. Structuring and managing systems are the main tasks or focus of farm management as carried out, on the one hand, by farmers and as investigated, on the other hand, by third party industry and trusted partners in their professional capacity of providing advice to farm managers, development agencies and governments.

What software is used for agriculture?

There are a range of software solutions available for use in Agriculture. These include Geographical Information System software (GIS) for mapping and creating spatial databases. Plant Protection software such as statistical software or experimentations. Molecular software for analysing sequences. Pest warning software, generally GIS or GPS based. Artificial intelligence (AI software) whereby remote sensing software enables the user to assess large scale areas of production via satellite at sub millimetre image resolution. With the range of software that is available to industry, the most important factor is without doubt, the need for integration of all solutions to a farm management platform that delivers efficiency.

What is agro software?

Agro or Agronomic Software encompasses specific programs and platforms that enable agronomists to optimize and manage individual farm operations and production activities. Tools that include remote sensors and probes, that agronomists use daily, can feed information to a centralised farm management platform, where the data is analysed and actioned. Scouting platforms, in particular mobile applications, are important tools that allow the agronomist to record critical crop information and action immediately via mobile communication devices.

How do you manage a farm?

The question is certainly a general one and applies broadly to farm management with many variations. Because farms differ widely, the significant concern in farm management is the specific individual farm; the plan most satisfactory for one farm may be most unsatisfactory for another. Farm management varies from those of the small family-operated farms to those of large-scale commercial farms where trained managers use the latest technological advances, and from farms administered by single proprietors to multiple farms managed by national or global entities. Outside of protected cropping operations, nature has the greatest impact on any farming operation. Drought, floods, fire and frost and their unpredictability make farm management one of the highest risk businesses.

It is an old saying, however in crop production and farm management ‘control what you can control’ is great advice.

Here are 7 key attributes to manage a farm.

  • Organisation & Planning.
  • Soil Management & Fertility
  • Monitoring and Auditing
  • Crop Protection
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Environmental management & control
  • Record keeping.

What is smart farm management?

Smart Farm Management is the process of managing farms using modern information and communication technologies to increase production, efficiencies, and quality across the operation. Smart farming has enabled ways to improve every aspect of farm management. Sensors, for soil, water, temperature, and tissue analysis. Data analytics to monitor and measure growth, disease pressure, yield potential, all vital to productivity and profitability. Software that targets specific farm types and IoT platforms. These and many other smart solutions all provide the basis for Smart Farm Management – Observation, Diagnostics, Decision and Action.

What does farm management cost?

The cost of farm management will vary and is dependent on many factors. The pricing parameters are influenced by the farm size, number of users or levels of accessibility, the length of the subscription or contract also impacts. It is no different to the process farmers experience when purchasing machinery or other farm hardware. The benefits, like labour reduction or time factor can be financially advantageous when making capital purchases much like farm management software. Think about the administrative tasks and how much time is spent on this. Saving 10 – 20 hours per month on a simple task like spray records, could pay for a platform that digitises the process.

So maybe the question to ask is “how much does it cost to NOT engage farm management”