Faced with low commodity prices and razor-thin profit margins, growers today are seeking to maximize the productivity of every acre by investing in new precision ag and farm management software programs. The problem is, these technologies are not working together, at least to the extent that many companies have promised. Until now.
Agworld, a global provider of simple to use, yet powerful farm management software and applications, introduces the Collaborative Farming Solution (CFS) as a way for growers and ag retailers to work together through a completely integrated, cloud-based platform.
Zach Sheely, Agworld’s President, explained that most farm management systems were developed to accomplish specific agronomic functions such as recording various farm activities, field mapping or managing logistics.
“Agworld’s farm management program is a unique solution that integrates precision ag data, production planning, purchasing, input prescriptions, logistics, projections, budgeting and invoices in a seamless manner that allows growers and their ag retailers to work together,” explained Sheely. “We call this ‘work as one’ concept our Collaborative Farming Solution, or CFS.”
As an example of the CFS concept at work today, Sheely points to Kody Karloff, a fifth generation farmer from Nebraska who sees firsthand the value that collaboration brings to his 3,200 acre corn and soybean operation. Karloff has implemented Agworld’s Collaborative Farming Solution that allows him to connect with his ag retailer and share important farming activities in real time.
“We needed to get a better understanding of our cost per acre,” said Karloff. “To achieve this goal, it’s easier if my retailer and I are working on the same platform.”
The recommendation to use Agworld’s farm management program came from Frontier Coop, based in Brainard, Nebraska. The Karloff farm relies on Frontier Coop for most of its agronomic inputs. As data collection, integration and interpretation become more essential to the farm planning process, it was important to choose a technology platform that allowed them to work as one with their cooperative.
Jon Brabec, marketing manager for Frontier Coop, echoes Karloff’s belief that collaboration is the best way to manage margins in a tight ag economy.
“Using Agworld’s CFS, we are able to streamline the data input, create a comprehensive farm plan and help Kody make more informed decisions,” said Brabec. “Information takes the emotion out of decision making. Now we can run different scenarios, create a comprehensive plan months in advance and still make changes in real time if we have to,” he added.
Collaboration is also critical to helping growers better understand their data. “We have data coming in all the time,” says Karloff. “It’s only actionable if we bring it all together in one place and allow our cooperative to help us make sense of it.”
While some growers prefer to use multiple suppliers hoping to find a price advantage, Karloff believes he is seeing better service-and putting better solutions into action-by working with his cooperative and following a long-term collaborative strategy.
For the cooperative, recommending the right collaborative technology platform is essential. “Farmers need an independent documentation and reporting tool-one that is not tied to a seed, chemical or equipment company,” notes Brabec. “If we can help the farmer improve workflow communication, integrate multiple data sources and share information across all trusted stakeholders, it allows for better planning, forecasting and implementation.”
Kody Karloff is busy planning next year’s crop right from his iPad, using last season’s input reports, yield reports and income per acre reports. He may not be able to control commodity prices, but today he has more confidence in the critical decisions he needs to make.
“No one knows what tomorrow may bring,” says Karloff. “But it feels better knowing that we are working together with one plan, one system, one goal in mind.”