Digitising Farm Operations

David Ricardo in wheat September 2020

Farmers around the world face a constant ‘bombardment’ of new technologies that become available for adoption; choosing the ones that have the best fit, is not always easy. I started this blog in 2007, as some of you that follow me know, but long before that, I’ve been at the coalface of this decision-making process for the past 30 years and it’s an interesting process to say the least.

While equipment purchases and whether or not to get a GPS unit were the main decisions we had to make 20 years ago, we seem to now be constantly evaluating a diverse range of digital tools that we could adopt on our farm. We obviously want to capitalize on the available technology as much as possible but, not every technology has a good fit on our farm, and we’re also very aware of the associated investments in both time and money that are required.

I had long been looking for a digital tool to help us manage one of our most expensive assets: our farm machinery. I, together with many other farmers I’m sure, have always found that nothing is more frustrating and expensive than forgetting a daily tractor check and damaging an engine, or forgetting to change an oil filter and having critical machinery stalled right when they’re needed most during planting or harvest. When I wasn’t able to find such a tool, I realized there was only one solution: make it happen myself,

Fast forward 2020 and Farm Service Manager is in use with over a thousand farmers around the world. From conducting pre-start checks to scheduling services and many other features, it’s an app that works because it has been made by a farmer, for farmers. Where I find many expensive and elaborate digital tools difficult to rationalise on our own farm, the feedback I get from Farm Service Manager clients is that they find the $100 per year to use our app a very worthwhile investment.

David Ricardo developed the Farm Service Manager app to record machinery services

The reason that Farm Service Manager is popular is that it is cost effective and, it’s simple to use and replaces a paper-based process which carries a lot of associated risks with it. For us, it’s very similar to why we use Agworld on our farm: we have to keep records of what we do in each of our fields anyway and, by digitising this process with a non-expensive and simple digital alternative, we get a lot of inherent benefits without any negatives such as an added workload.

So why do farmers like to use Farm Service Manager? They tell me that it helps them by:

  • Maximising resale value of machinery by making an accurate service history available to buyers in a simple digital format;
  • Ensuring preventative maintenance takes place when it should;
  • Improving workplace health and safety by ensuring machinery is safe to operate;
  • Lifting productivity by organizing service intervals and the communication surrounding it.

Most farmers start to use Farm Service Manager just to manage the service intervals of their tractors but, after a while, they start to use the app for a lot of different things too – service history, daily inspection and operation logs, and spare parts. Also its much more than tractors and combines – you’d be surprised to see how many lawn mowers and petrol powered pumps and compressors are on the platform now too… forgotten no more! To me, this is what I have seen Agworld deliver on our farm as well: we started using Agworld because we saw a particular benefit in record keeping, but after using it for a while, we started to see lot of added benefits such as planning, budgeting, receiving recommendations from our agronomist, and mapping.

To visit the Farm Service Manager website click here. There is a 3 month Free Trial. Simply register on the website and download the app from the AppStore or GooglePlay.  If you have any questions about Farm Service Manager and how it might fit your farming operation, you can reach me on info@farmservicemanager.com

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