Have a plan, control cost, and take care of your equipment.
Running a loosely managed farm is like navigating a ship in the fog. Yes, you can get there but you risk squandering everything along the way. I tightly managed farm keeps track of everything with a project plan that can adapt to changing conditions. Keeping good records allows farmers to look back to see what worked and what failed in previous years. Farm Statistics does just that and a lot more.
You probably know your farm like the back of your hand: where your tools are, what you planted last year and your bottom line at the end of the season; at least you think you do. To be successful, you need to know about every part of your farm, your buildings, equipment, what you have on hand, and a plan for each crop with timelines and a budget. You need to plan for the worst-case scenario and hope for the best possible outcome. Managing a farm and making a profit is not easy and it takes years to master.
Small farms are more challenging than larger farms due to the amount of activity that takes place there. Large farms usually only grow one crop at a time, need less equipment and everyone is focused on one thing at a time. Small farms have many crops that may require irrigation, more specialized equipment, more buildings, and tighter deadlines. Farm Statistics was geared towards the small farmer but works for every farm.
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a new concept where a small farm sells shares of their crop to local households. The farmer is pre-paid and does not have to worry about marketing because their crops are sold before they are planted. However, CSA farms have a different challenge, keeping track of their clients and weekly shares. Farm Statistics addresses these concerns with a module that tracks clients and has email marketing built in. The farmer simply enters what is included in the weekly share and clicks the share button and all clients are notified by email a list of what is included and when it will be ready. The program also keeps records on clients and gives share reports on who received their weekly shares.
Your buildings are an essential part of your farm. Barn’s, animal shelters, greenhouses, tool sheds, storage trailers and maintenance shops should all be entered into the software program. As you enter other items into our system (equipment and inventory items,) they will be linked to that building.Fields
Field management is an important step in organizing your farm. With Farm Statistics, you can enter lab results, view crop history, and enter any notes that will help with future plantings. If you farm one large field with many crops, we recommend dividing the field into several different fields and manage each section as a separate entity. Creating separate fields allows you to become granular and gives you more control over each section.
If you are a grower, every planting needs to be a project. You have a lot of tasks that need to be done from field work to harvest and it is essential to document every step. We realize how much work it is do enter all that data… we use the software ourselves on our own farm. For this reason, we have crop templates built into our software; to make data entry automated. Templates are not perfect and only get you part of the way there but once you take the time to add a complete crop into our planner, you will be able to save it or “Clone” it into a new one. There is three major parts to our crop planner, categories, tasks, and expenses. Categories are used to group for tasks together. For example, Field work could be a category and have 5 tasks under it. Tasks have a title, scheduled date, date completed, total hours and a field for notes. Users can also assign task to their employees. Expenses have a title, category, amount, notes and date. Expenses are automatically tallied each time a record is updated.
Pesticide regulations differ for each state and this software was built to adapt to work anywhere. One of the problems we have encountered over the years is keeping up with application records. What we have designed is a way to enter an application record, on a cell phone, in less than a minute… often time less than 30 seconds with savvy user. This is accomplished by adding pesticides prior to using the application and choosing farms, fields and crops from data provided in other areas of the application. The initial setup could take 10 minutes depending on how many pesticides your farm uses.
Farm Statistics is built to capture:
It is nice to keep all your equipment service records in one place and pull them up on your phone when needed. When we first built Farm Statistics for our own farm, the first thing we needed to track was our equipment. To have the ability to pull up a serial number while at the dealership and check service records while working on a break down in the field was invaluable. Keeping your equipment in order is vital to a well-functioning farm. Our equipment feature is basic and easy to learn.
Our inventory module is the least used feature in Farm Statistics. Perhaps one out of 25 farms take the time to enter their parts and supplies. On our farm, we keep track of every nut and bolt. We know what we have on hand before we buy supplies we do not need. It is easy to spend $500 per year on stuff you did not know you already had. Every dollar matters in this business and good farm management begins with controlling your costs.
In the industrial world, project management is used manage tasks and control costs. On large project, it is essential to keep track of every step and make sure tasks are completed in the correct order. Project management is at the heart of Farm Statistics. We use the basic principles while making it seamless to the user. To use project management to its fullest on the farm is an overkill, however, employing the fundamentals around the farm can be beneficial.
Our project management tool is a scaled down version of the crop planner. Instead of planning crops you plan tractor rebuilds, barn projects and anything that takes more than a day to complete. By using our tool, you create task lists and project costs. Create your project during the winter and bring it up on your phone during the summer on a rainy day.
Farm Statistics has 10 modules that contain over 50 features to help small farmers achive their goal.