All eyes are on the agricultural sector as it faces challenges brought about by climate change, depleting resources, and increasing population. By 2050, the global population is estimated to be at 9.7 billion and will drive up food demand anywhere between 58% to 98%. Farmers need to find ways to increase crop production to meet the growing demand for food. But this task is no easy feat.
Along with the challenges mentioned, farmers must also battle the reality of declining resources, unpredictable weather, pest and disease attacks, and more stringent regulations. Farmers are challenged to innovate the way they do farming and use technology to combat obstacles that come their way. Farm management software is no buzz phrase, but a necessity for farmers to thrive in the complex and evolving world of agriculture.
What is Farm Management Software?
Farm management software is a suite of digital tools that are used to optimize and manage farm activities and operations. Farm management software helps farmers with job scheduling, crop planning and forecasting, farm data storage and analysis, risk management, and better financial and investment planning.
The most worthwhile farm management software will have features that are designed to help improve farming efficiency in all aspects. It alleviates farmers of the day-to-day grind and assists them with arriving at better decisions to make their business more profitable and efficient.
Benefits of Using Farm Management Solutions
While traditional farmers may be tempted to use a physical notebook or a spreadsheet, the reality is that farm management software will far outweigh any conventional record-keeping tools used for farming. Apart from record-keeping, the right farm management software will deliver useful insights that farm owners can use to manage their farms and make it more profitable. Here are some of the benefits of using farm management software.
Time Saved on Administrative and Record-Keeping Tasks
If you’re spending hours on end whether daily, weekly, or monthly just to reconcile data about your farm on your notebook or spreadsheet, you’re not only missing out on time you could spend growing your business. That’s time you could’ve spent with your family or doing a hobby you love. With a reliable farm management software, you can update your records within a few clicks. It also helps keep your data more accurate and reliable as human errors are lessened. Accessible digital records also help with generating reports faster especially for audit and compliance requirements.
Improved Planning and Monitoring
Farm management software provides a holistic view and real-time information of the farm which can help farmers plan their activities more efficiently. With a comprehensive view of things, farmers are enabled to make more informed decisions for farming activities which can include crop planning, fertilizer application, and pest control. Farmers have access to historical yields which can help them with crop rotation planning. All these contribute to decreased costs and better profit margins for farmers.
Better Risk Management
Farm management software provides historical field performance which can be used by farmers to develop their portfolio. Apart from field performance, data on operational costs and revenue sales will help farmers arrive at better investment decisions. An effective farm management software will also have features that warn farmers of imminent risks due to erratic weather conditions, pest attacks, and even soil health so they can better prepare for them. All these features provide better control for farmers amidst the challenges they face.
Suggested Features to Look For in Your Farm Planning Software
After knowing the benefits of farm management software and you’ve decided to explore them, it’s good to know what key features you should look at. The list below contains some key features that most farm planning software provide but you should also consider what problem you want to solve in your farm operations when evaluating your options.
- NDVI Index
- Weather forecasting
- Pest and disease analysis
- Crop analysis and prediction
- Financial and Field Performance Reporting
- Data Exchange
Apart from the key farm management features, you should also look at the software’s usability and security. Is it accessible via a desktop app and mobile app? Is the interface intuitive and easy to navigate? Is data stored in the cloud and how often is it backed up? Can you easily collaborate with your farm staff and share data with them securely? These are just some of the questions you should keep in mind when you review farm management software options and providers.
Starting Your Farm Management System
The right farm management software can help transform farm businesses for the better and prepare them for the challenges of the coming decades. However, having a great tool is not enough. Farmers must also change their mindset towards farming and production in general. A concept called Lean farming can help farmers drive continuous improvements and innovations for their business. Having the right mindset and the right technology, farm owners can be assured of a better harvest for generations to come.