What Kinds of Software Do Farmers Need?

First Financial Bank
The more you can reduce the guesswork, the more profitable your farm may be. That’s where agricultural software comes in.

While there can sometimes be a bit of a learning curve with new technology, the benefits can far outweigh the initial difficulty of learning how to use a digital tool.

What if you could view all your inventory with one quick glance at a screen rather than having to check multiple different storage locations or notepads? Automate reminders for equipment maintenance rather than struggle to keep track of those dates yourself on top of everything else already taking up brain space? Have one hub where all employees record all necessary information so nothing gets lost and you never have to track a worker down for missing info?

A farm information management system will condense all the information you need to make well-informed decisions in your business into one place in a fraction of the time. And with so much background information available at a glance, there’s a higher chance your choices will be the best ones.

Because there is such a wide array of farm information management systems to choose from, let’s break it all down into three categories.

Crop or Field Management

Some software focuses specifically on managing your fields and the crops each produces. These systems are capable of things like monitoring weather and precipitation for you as well as providing real-time satellite images of your fields so you can make decisions from the opposite side of your property or even when you are out of town without visiting the area in question.

Whether it’s planting season, harvest time, or somewhere in the middle, you can have instant access to weather patterns, soil quality information, and the general health of your field.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to scramble for records during food safety audit time? With the right field management system, you can track which fields have been treated with pesticides and weed killers, how much of what chemicals were used, and any other relevant information. And a report can be generated with a click of a button and no headache to you to get that auditor out of your hair.

In addition to simplifying the auditing process, you can also have information about how much of each chemical you have left in inventory after the latest treatment, when you’ll need to buy more, and where you can purchase it at the cheapest price. Some systems will also warn you if you schedule workers to work in a field too soon after spraying and let you know when the field in question will be safe to enter again. FarmShots and Climate FieldView are just some of the software options that offer this functionality.

Financial Management

If only tracking income and expenses were less messy! If only you could have instant access to accurate profit and loss information so you could know whether to jump on that incredible deal for a new piece of equipment – but what if the financial strain is too much?

With financial management software, you can have access to all that information with a couple of taps on your phone. P&L statements, employee wages, budget projections, and planned expenses all right there at your fingertips.

All end to end farm management systems have some elements of financial tracking and reporting, but there is also other software focused solely on the financial side. Both kinds will help you track your inventory, keep up with orders and shipments, record all your sales, income statements, and some provide so much more.

This functionality is especially useful during the dreaded tax season. How nice would it be to have all your necessary tax information automatically generated for you? With specific tax software for farmers, there’ll be no need for frantic search parties through filing cabinets, glove boxes, or those stacks of papers you haven’t had time to sift through yet. Everything you need to get taxes out of the way is in hand, so you can get back to the real work.

There are a variety of options out there with Fitsmallbusiness.com rating QuickBooks Online and FarmBooks as two of the top accounting software for farm accounting.

AI and Predictive Analytics for Precision Agriculture

How convenient would it be to look into the future and see what will happen so you can prevent catastrophes and capitalize on successes? While there are sadly no time machines around to enable these kinds of advantages, artificial intelligence and predictive analytics software are the next best thing for you and your farm operations.

Predictive analytics software takes the history of your farm into account and gives you a bird’s eye view of the data. The software leverages artificial intelligence (AI) for planting choices and use it for crop planning and to better forecast production based on your choices.

In addition to compiling information on the history of your own fields, predictive analytics software looks at the history of others in your region and then looks for trends among the data. With the big picture within your grasp, you can more easily choose how best to proceed given the current circumstances and help mitigate risk. According to Predictive Analytics Today, software such as Agrivi and Trimble are two of several in this fast growing field (pun intended) of predictive analytics for agriculture.

When you can see the impact of past decisions, regional information and your history in context you will be able to spot patterns that you couldn’t see before. With this additional information, you will be better equipped to make decisions based on data with potentially more fruitful results.

Growing Your Agricultural Business

So do you think a little learning curve would be worth it in order to reap the potential benefits of farm management software systems for your operations? There are a variety of options available at different price points. Updating your farm information management systems with new software may be an excellent way to grow and improve your agricultural business.

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