Automating the Farm Workload


by Chris Clayton, DTN Ag Policy Editor

Chicago (DTN) — If you have a farm management challenge, there's an app for that.

Farmers at the DTN/The Progressive Farmer Ag Summit shared a few of the various software tools out there to help them manage their operations. They noted the broad array of weather and farm-management programs that are being marketed to producers or that they individually find deal with an issue on the farm.

“I know for me I will see a problem and go out there and try to find a solution for that,” said Bernard Peterson, a farmer from Kentucky.

Rebecca Crownover, a farmer from Sunray, Texas, uses several technology applications on her farm in Texas and relies heavily on various clouds to store information. “Businesses are becoming more cloud-based every day,” she said.

Kyle Tom, a farmer from Leesburg, Ind., discussed his family's farm management tools to irrigate and use variable rates of fertilizer and water across fields. Remote technology can connect the office with sprayers in the field. He also pointed out his family's farm uses the Field to Market app to measure the farm's environmental footprint.

Some tools store and manage documents while others increasingly help with managing employees and inventory.

The following are just a few programs highlighted by Peterson and Crownover during a seminar at the Ag Summit on automating workload on the farms.

– Conservis is a farm-management tool used for inventory control, marketing, data gathering, real-time activity on the farm, reporting and work orders.

– TurboScan creates documents from a phone or tablet by simply snapping a shot and saving the picture as a PDF. Peterson noted TurboScan is convenient for saving receipts.

– allows businesses to track employee times for clocking in and clocking out and can be accessed by a phone or computer. Once an employer sets up a system, the employer registers phones or computers that are allowed to clock in. It tracks work time, absences and payroll information.

– allows businesses to create files for every employee, including contact information, handbooks, job descriptions, payroll information, job reviews, etc. A manager can quickly log on and pull up employee details. Crownover said it once allowed her to pull up information on a phone during an emergency.

“I was able to get that information instantly,” she said. “It's been a huge help for us.”

– allows outside log in to company computers. That gives a farmer remote access into the operation. It can also be used for virtual meetings or to share computer screens for meetings. Crownover said she likes this software because she lives hours away from the daily farm office. “That's been a huge, huge solution. I use it almost every day.”

– FreeconferencecallHD is an app that allows employers to set up conference calls, track call histories, monitor calls, then mute or drop some callers.

– is a file-sharing app that allows businesses to upload and store files securely then access them through mobile phones as well as sync files.

– allows employers to quickly reach employees with notices, meeting updates and reminders.

– Fleetmatics is an app that uses global positioning to track trucks or other company vehicles, identifying who is driving, as well as the origin and destination of the vehicle.

– Digi Imobile is a phone app that allows people to connect remotely to video cameras so farmers and livestock producers can monitor what's going on at the facility. “It's just extra security right there at your fingertips,” Crownover said.

– Accuware Inventory Manager allows producers to scan documents and track inventory such as parts and machinery. You can create barcoded labels to scan parts

– is another cloud that allows people to back up all of their documents electronically and keep them secure. Crownover said the benefit of this tool is the administrator can restore files that might be deleted either accidentally or intentionally. That allows added security for protecting information.

“That's a huge plus for the system,” she said.



© Copyright 2014 DTN/The Progressive Farmer. All rights reserved.

Posted by Jami Howell

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