Farm Reporting Software
The emergence of digital platforms across the agricultural sector has without doubt, changed the dynamic of how we deal with farm generated data and information. Farm reporting software is not a new phenomenon, for it is quite remarkable to think how this task (that we now see as digital) has been managed historically. It is an impressive quality that has seen generations of farmers, store enormous depths of records in their head. Sure, the odd note pad and car windscreen has acted as the data collation tool, but that information and record keeping has fundamentally evolved from a very simple method.
Data is everywhere, whether it be a smart watch collecting the number of steps and reminding you of those achievements or it’s the number of calories you have consumed in a day, data is collated, processed, and delivered for many purposes every day and more times than not, it is done via digital means. The Agricultural sector has led the way with innovative devices that capture a vast array of information. Weather stations, moisture probes, sensors, yield monitors, VRA the list is endless. Obviously when historical harvest data is collected and stored, we do not roll out the filing cabinet and sprawl out A4 pages across the kitchen table to compare seasonal performance. We have software that enables this information to present in a more suitable way. Farm reporting software that is developed to not only store data, but rather provide insights and use metrics that can deliver analytics are now changing day to day farming. To enable the farmer to identify trends and act upon from a handheld device is game changing. Farm reporting software is much more than an NDVI image.
We will unpack the latest offering in Farm Reporting Software from FW Agronomy, that is enhancing the user experience and in doing so, saving farmers time, money & lost production.
Field observations or scouting reports from trusted partners, are vital to farmers to be kept informed of seasonal events, yield tracking or threats that may impact on production. Of course, no farmer can be across their entire operation, every minute of the day.
FW Agronomy’s exclusive Farm Reporting Software – FarmQA, has an Analytics tool that can compile data for your individual fields and can be viewed from any scouting report where an observation for a metric you’re tracking has been made. This could be something such as disease pressure in a specific crop, giving you a snapshot of what’s happening in that individual fields. If the severity of the infestation is at a level of concern, the farm reporting software enables a proactive response to treat the problem and eliminate the threat of impacting a much greater area across the farming operation.
Farm reporting software requires accurate relevant data. FW Agronomy through their FarmQA platform has developed a Metrics Designer tool that lets a user overlay spray events onto analytical graphs. This gives users the ability to easily view trends and pressure values over time while also understanding when they made chemical applications. For example, a trendline of Aphid pressure can be viewed with spray dates overlaid to assess efficacy.
Let’s take a look at how Farm Reporting Software and focus on how the AquaSpy soil moisture probe is driving efficiency on farm.
The AquaSpy soil moisture probe is an effective sensor for reading soil moisture, temperature, and Electrical Conductivity (EC). An audio signal is sent out from the probe, the speed and attenuation of the signal upon return is used to provide usable data. An algorithm is then used to calculate the full and refill points displayed within AgSpy. The measure in this scenario as follows.
- Full Point 100% – 100% on the AquaSpy Summary graph is Field capacity
- Field Capacity– the amount of soil moisture or water content held in the soil after excess water has drained away and the rate of downward movement has decreased.
- Field capacity is detected within AquaSpy by looking for the inflection point, or change in slope, between free moving water and water being held in the pore space. This is best detected after a large rain or watering event where the soil is saturated.
- Refill Point – 0% on the AquaSpy graph represents 50% water use efficiency of any given crop. What this means is that the plant has significantly slowed down in the absorption of moisture and is getting half of the moisture that it wants to consume in ideal conditions.
- Example- if a Potato plant is consuming .20 inches of water/day in the green band, it will be consuming .10 inches of water/day if the moisture decreases to the refill line (red line). The reduction in consumption will impact yields.
- Between the green band and the refill line the crop will continually decrease from 90% efficiency down to 50% efficiency.
Frequent used terms on this example of Farm Reporting Software are outlined as follows.
Permanent Wilting Point (PWP)– Is defined as the minimal point of soil moisture the plant requires not to wilt. If moisture decreases to this or any lower point a plant wilts and can no longer recover its turgidity when placed in a saturated atmosphere for 12 hours. PWP of soil is around 15% to 17% by volume
- PWP is not displayed on the AquaSpy summary graph. There are two reasons for this
- If soil reaches permanent wilting point the crop is at a critical state of survival where it is putting all growth efforts towards foliage/survival and not adding yield. AquaSpy alerts users before the soil every gets dry enough to be at a critical survival state. In doing so yield is maintained.
- Different crops respond differently to dry soil conditions. If PWP is used as the metric for all crops, the results will be highly variable. Meaning some crops may survive while others struggle to add yield.
- For example: sorghum/sunflowers are more drought resistant than Corn, therefore the wilting point has less value as the effect of limited moisture will impact corn at a wetter level than sunflowers.
- These two reasons are why the refill line is based on water use efficiency and not wilting point specific. It is a more actionable metric and allows for a management strategy that maximizes yield for each crop.
Volumetric moisture readings– Volumetric soil moisture readings are a traditional way of measuring soil moisture. The calculation is done by comparing the volume of a soil sample before and after drying it.
- The AquaSpy soil moisture probe does not use volumetric soil measurements. The probe measures the rate of return of a 185 MHz signal, from the return rate a scale is produced with field capacity representing the 100% line, and 50% water use efficiency representing the 0% line.
- The advantage of using the AquaSpy full and empty scale is that it is crop specific, allowing for tailored water management. AquaSpy has assessed probe data over many years on all crops within AgSpy. Through the assessment it was determined that 50% water use efficiency was reached at a different volumetric moisture value for each crop. However, for each crop the percentage decrease to 50% efficiency was consistent regardless of the soil type.
- For example, Sunflowers reach 50% water use efficiency at a much drier overall soil moisture level than corn. This proves that these two crops should not be managed to the same volumetric moisture levels. The AquaSpy system takes out the guess work of managing different crops to different volumetric levels by using a crop specific scale.
We will shift gears now and spend some time pinpointing features of Farm Reporting Software that are making the day-to-day operations of farmers and their trusted partners. FW Agronomy and FarmQA work with farmers, advisors and third party trusted partners to streamline these processes.
After reports are completed, whether they be field crop observations, remote sensor data or harvest data, they can be sent via text or email from either the FarmQA web app or mobile app. Without any interruption or need to be office based the reports are easily pulled from within the platform and sent to the chosen recipient. Reports can be exported as either PDF or an Excel spreadsheet and sent directly from the FarmQA Controller app to the desired sender by the press of a ‘share’ button.
Farm Reporting Software can perform what once were a task that could span many hours, within minutes and by simply scrolling over a desktop page or a mobile App.
Merging multiple reports for one area of a farm is as simple as granting permission for those reports to be automatically merged, in the same field over a selected time. This allows for either multiple sources to collect data in the same field at the same time, or for one source to submit a follow up report and know it will be combined with the original. This is a great example of a task being unintrusive from a time perspective but enabling the farmer to access information that potentially impacts outcomes.
Whilst real time ‘live’ reporting functionality tends to be the focus, historical data and reporting is something that can inspire decisions on farm that save time and money. Farm Reporting Software as demonstrated within the FarmQA platform features a filter tab that enables the user to break down the desired reporting levels, that may be a filed, a variety or a date. The advantages are endless, think product recall. How easy it is to identify potential damage or crop loss from that recall within a few clicks on a mobile App. Gone are the days of trolling through paper records or notes or supplier invoices. Every relevant detail is captured and stored withing the platform to be accessible precisely when you need it.
Farm Reporting Software and the digitalisation of primary production will fully inform farmers and arm them with the ability to make the best decisions. AgTech can achieve what is essentially an industrial revolution that will take the industry to the next level and allow it to remain key players in global food production. It is opening-up new avenues to make real change in the sector and play a meaningful role in the productivity of farms across the country. While productivity is one goal, sustainability is another equally important one that can be achieved with the assistance of AgTech innovation and more specifically, Farm Reporting software. Take the Great Barrier Reef for example, to finely manage the inputs that farmers within Great Barrier Reef catchment regions are applying requires intense scrutiny. This is time consuming and costly for all concerned parties. By utilising Farm Reporting Software that is centrally managed, the information and accuracy in what farmers are applying and where, as well as how much run off or nitrate leeching is occurring can be accessed immediately. AgTech, and those who are working in the innovation sector, are having real impacts on sustainability. Farmers are also taking part in carbon reduction, waste minimisation and improved animal stewardship.
Advancements in farm reporting software have proven to be incredibly important in today’s industry. Results in the farming operation are heavily influenced by attention to detail, and technology can be the deciding factor between a mediocre season and a highly profitable one. Farm management software platforms such as FarmQA in conjunction with FW Agronomy amplify data with an aim to bring out the most in an agricultural operation.
With increases in operational costs every year, it can often be a struggle to maximize profits, especially in tough economic times. By using data recorded in the field, FarmQA helps growers increase their profits and productivity. This can be done in many ways, as FW Agronomy provides solutions for all aspects of a business. Over time with increasing use, these solutions have an even more powerful effect on an operation.