Published on Thu, 03/03/2016 by BASF Canada

Today’s tech-savvy farmers leverage more info for better profitability

Tool also positions farmers to stay ahead of the curve on consumer trends

During the course of any growing season, Canadian growers get a lot of information about their farm. This includes crop plans, grain inventories, tracking of crop inputs, spray history, soil sampling, yield maps, contracts, as well as the farm’s accounting and books. All of this contributes to the bottom line and managing all this information is an increasingly important part of any successful farming operation.

That’s why more growers are turning to comprehensive farm data management systems to help them out. These systems improve decision making, profitability and address consumer-driven food trends. For example, they can help track traceability and sustainability measures in an era where there’s an increasingly bright spotlight on food production practices.

“Success in farming today requires management of an increasing number of factors – which is why a good farm data management system is an essential tool,” says Andrew Elgersma, Grower Solutions Manager with BASF.

BASF and Affinity Management, a software and business solution provider, developed Compass Grower Advanced in response to customer requests for a one-stop, fully-integrated farm data management system. It’s the next generation tool that allows growers to plan crops, test profitability scenarios and improve decision making on their farm. For growers that are juggling a mountain of information between the farm office, the shed or the combine, Compass Grower Advanced is also fully mobile – a key requirement.

Research conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs in November 2015 for BASF paints an interesting picture of grower attitudes on farm management software. Five hundred large to mid-sized Canadian growers were surveyed.

While only 42 percent of these growers have a data management system in place now, 84 percent believed that a fully integrated data management system would be valuable.

The reasons growers provided for believing that a farm data management system for their operation would be valuable and necessary demonstrate the underlying shift in thinking on how information is leveraged for success on the farm today. It’s a harbinger of things to come.

Based on the Microsoft platform, Compass Grower Advanced integrates accounting, crop plans, grain inventories, crop input applications, soil sampling, yield maps, contracts and more into one comprehensive system.

Accounting tools in Compass Grower Advanced use the Microsoft farm accounting platform. The system also integrates with John Deere and CASE IH equipment so that actual yield and crop input data sync with the data. GIS and GPS mapping for fields can also be imported. Plus, grain contracts, bin inventory and delivery schedules are tracked all in one place. It’s all a powerhouse of information to improve profitability.

The Ipsos survey confirmed that’s exactly why growers are keen. Of those surveyed, their chief interest in the system was:

  • Profitability scenarios – 41 percent
  • Improved decision making – 39 percent
  • Crop planning – 37 percent
  • Organizational efficiency – 30 percent
  • Benchmarking performance compared to past years – 28 percent
  • Traceability – 21 percent

(Note: Growers could give multiple answers, so the percentages are not meant to add up to 100.)

“Whether growers are planning their coming crop season and looking to meet with their banker, or watching the uptick in consumer interest in transparency of ingredients, a comprehensive system like Compass Grower Advanced gives them all the information they need – all in one place, and at their fingertips,” said Elgersma.

Compass Grower Advanced is a unique market offering because it is constantly evolving based on user input – much like the feedback gleaned from the Ipsos survey.

“They listen to us and are always there to provide help and advice,” said Jason Boersma who operates Ridge Valley Farms in Highgate, Ontario. “Compass really ties everything together – finance, crop management, inputs, storage, grain inventory and more. It’s all in on spot and it allows me to be flexible and mobile.”

 

Compass is a trademark of Affinity Management Ltd.; Microsoft is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in Canada; CASE is a registered trademark of CNH Industrial America LLC; John Deere is a trademark of Deere & Company; all used with permission. 

© 2016 BASF Canada Inc.