Agriculture is full of unpredictable events — weather, markets, even a pandemic. How can a planning tool be useful when there are so many factors outside of farmers’ control?
Chris Vanthuyne, a senior product owner with AgExpert at Farm Credit Canada, says that even when there’s uncertainty, key farming decisions still have to happen in the day-to-day and for the medium and long term.
The value of planning begins with having an easier way to digitize farm records, enabling farmers to have access to that data, which means they’re more informed when making decisions, Vanthuyne says. Access to good data adds confidence in the decisions farmers make – and that’s where AgExpert shines.
“It’s not about having a perfect plan, but allowing farmers to have data readily available in a format they understand. When those uncertain events come up, you have as much information as possible and the confidence to proactively look at the key metrics and measures important to your farm,” he says.
When you take time to plan and make projections with solid numbers, you’re supporting better decision-making by removing some uncertainty. And by having your farm’s data and real numbers easily accessible in AgExpert, you can save time and pull it up whether you’re in the field or at your desk at home.
Having access to those key metrics for your farm, whether it’s the break-even amounts for yields or sale prices, ultimately means you make more informed decisions for field management and also for accounting, budget and cash flow.
“Farmers can rely heavily on their gut feelings or intuition – let’s call it years of experience. If you combine that intuition with hard numbers, it allows you to shift some of that burden away from knowing it off the top of your head, or having that notebook handy you’ve had in your truck for years,” Vanthuyne says.
“By having it available and at your fingertips, it removes some of that doubt as well. You have not only your guts and intuition as a farmer, but you have that second opportunity to check and validate and play around with numbers to support what direction you’re going. Having a plan is a powerful tool in that regard.”
AgExpert Field allows farmers to create planned activities throughout the year, to track input costs and understand input usage numbers. Whether it’s seed or chemical, or any other input, you’ll have a good understanding of the total input costs on the field that you’re looking at. You can also factor in insurance premiums or land rent to get a bigger picture of profitability from the get-go, and it’s easy to update and change throughout the year.
For accounting, the AgExpert suite offers excellent bookkeeping tools. Whether it’s to create your yearly budget and compare projections to your actuals, or to monitor your cash flow – watching your money in and out means you can be proactive and understand what you see, Vanthuyne says.
For more information on all AgExpert software, call AgExpert Customer Care at 1-800-667-7893 or visit agexpert.ca.