Ag Tech Sunday - Digital Farm records and reports simplify a complex operation
- By: "Prime" Ag News
- Ag Company News
- May 30, 2020
- 415 views
Burrawang West Station Ootha, NSW
Operation type Sheep Area 7,300 HA Stock 9,500 Head Average rainfall 483 mm
There are a lot of moving parts to the operation Malcolm Brady manages at Burrawang West Station, near Ootha in the Central West of New South Wales.
It takes in five enterprises and runs over three properties across 18,000 acres. There are the stud ewes, commercial ewes, finished lambs, a quarantine centre and a business selling embryos to overseas clients.
When Malcolm took over as manager in 2017, he kept records the old fashioned way – using pen and paper. “The reporting was a nightmare,” he remembers, “and then one of our Sydney shareholders suggested AgriWebb. l thought, ‘Beautiful, this is exactly what we want.’”
A complete farm management solution
Malcolm has found AgriWebb has reaped dividends across the operation. “Our goal with the stud is to be the best, and we’d like to think we are, but we’ve got to keep changing to stay there,” he says. “Agriwebb keeps you up to date with all the processes on the stud side. We’re very intense with our record keeping, so it’s a huge tool to meet those goals.”
Malcolm can record every step in the production process, be it condition scoring, joining, or animal treatments, on his mobile, as they’re done. AgriWebb ensures accurate, detailed records, which are central to the success of any stud enterprise.
For the operation’s commercial flock, one of the challenges was keeping track of up to 4,000 sheep across 81 paddocks. That job is simple thanks to AgriWebb: it lets you “drag and drop” mobs using the farm map on your mobile, to reflect the moves on the farm. “It’s amazing, the fact you know where everything is, and it’s not just in here,” Malcolm says, tapping the side of his head. “Our six staff members all know.”
Staff are also kept on the same page with AgriWebb’s Task Management feature, which means jobs can be allocated and their progress tracked for greater efficiency. For longer-term goals, the Operational Planner suggests the best management practices, based on the latest science, to improve productivity and profitability.
“The shareholders really look forward to the quarterly meetings. The reports are the backbone of our board meeting. It makes it easy [for us to] budget because you know what your numbers are.”
Malcolm Brady - Farm Manager, Burrawang West Station
A powerful reporting tool
The flipside to AgriWebb’s easy record keeping functionality is its comprehensive reports. Malcolm marvels at how AgriWebb takes all his farm data and generates detailed reports, making complex calculations simple, and keeping various stakeholders satisfied.
“The shareholders really look forward to the quarterly meetings,” he says. AgriWebb’s Livestock Reconciliation Report ensures they can see real-time stock numbers. “It’s not airy-fairy; it’s the proper figures. If it says we’ve got 8,401 on today, we know we can prove that in the paddocks.”
Monthly board meetings are also more productive, thanks to Livestock Cost of Production and Gross Margin Reports. “Those reports are the backbone of our board meeting,” Malcolm says. “It makes it easy to go and budget, because you know what your numbers are.”
Audits, once a burden, particularly for the organic-certified section of the farm, are no longer cause for concern. “As soon as you tell auditors you’ve got AgriWebb, they say, “Great, this is an hours’ job, not half a day.’”
Reporting for the taxman is also more manageable since Ed Thompson, an accountant at the Luka Group in Dubbo, encouraged Malcolm to use AgriWebb for financial reporting.
“It saves me bringing a big box of paperwork in, and the price the accountants charge is a lot less because the hours they need are reduced so much it’s not funny,” Malcolm says. “They’ve got the figures at their fingertips, so they don’t need to ring and chase me up.”
Malcolm sees AgriWebb reports being invaluable when it comes time to sell a property. “You have all the numbers, with all the dates, so you can go back and look at those figures. Where someone might doubt those figures, it’s there in black and white. That’s a huge tool as a seller because a buyer would want a look.”
Digital transformation made easy
Malcolm really values the customer support provided at AgriWebb. It has ensured his adoption of farm management software has been a smooth process. When he was unsure how to track one of the feedlot enterprises within AgriWebb, the Farm Success team helped him set this up on the digital farm map. This allowed Malcolm to run that enterprise separately while still tracking the associated costs. “The support and service, for an older fella like myself, has been amazing. No question is silly; every question is relevant.”
“I had four beautiful daughters and two office staff who used to do all my computer work, so it did frighten me. But the thing about AgriWebb is that it’s just so simple.”