Now you and your employees can add extra users to your account – with Linked Accounts, one account can now grant other account holders the ability to add and edit data on their farms.
Managing crops from planting to harvest is really only one piece of the farming puzzle, and through our feedback channels one of the most common discussion topics we encounter is the antiquated nature of crop tracking during harvest.
To combat this, AgDNA is currently trialing a new Harvest Tracker Tool that was designed to bridge the gap between growers and contractors, and remove the inaccuracies of pre-existing systems that monitor crops between when they leave the field, and are delivered for processing.
You can trial our new Harvest Tracker Tool now by following these subsequent steps:
Step 1 – Open the Add Control Panel using the Add Button (+) on the RHS of the map toolbar
Step 2 – Once the crop is weighed, the relevant information can be entered into the system
The Harvest Tracker Tool gives a grower’s employees or contractors the ability to enter information directly into the system from their mobile device, and the map location tool creates an accurate GPS geo-location of exactly where the information was entered.
Step 3 – Upload a photograph of the ticket
The final step in the process is generating an image of the ticket, so farm operators can generate accurate records of crop transactions, and verify the information entered by the driver or contractor.
– Thoughts? Feelings? We’d love to hear from you
It seems like such an obsequious article title, but in reality it feels there are often times when farm equipment manufacturers are behind the 8-ball when it comes to listening to critical feedback from their audience.
Huge effort is consistently put into generating social media content on their behalf, but the conversation often goes one way, and at AgDNA we feel that critical feedback from farmers is important when creating durable field-tested products.
Using their own social media, farmers are constantly tweeting, writing, creating, and sharing with the world the intricacies of their life, and most importantly the boundaries that are imposed upon them by their machinery.
Just by looking at everyday conversations, we’ve put together a list of 5 things that we believe farmers want equipment manufacturers to know:
1. Their circumstances change, quickly
Why is this important for companies to know? Personal, environmental, or financial circumstances can set back an entire harvest, destroy a vehicle, or even cripple a farmer’s ability to operate. For this reason, local dealerships and even the manufacturer themselves often become the first port of when providing solutions to important output-changing circumstances.
2. Things break down all the time
Open dialogue between manufacturers and customers goes beyond the sales process – as we know equipment sometimes has a tendency to break down , and if the communication between dealers and clients is diluted (or even non-existent), manufacturers can start watching their loyal customer base jump ship very quickly. Communication is key.
3. Farmers love their statistics
If it has lots of numbers on it, it’s a winner. After sales software is crucially important to a farmer’s business, and with the recent shift in commodity prices farmers are paying attention to numbers now more than ever.
4. Farmers come in all shapes and sizes
5. They’re online, waiting to be spoken to
For some dealers social media can understandably become distracting from a sales and service point of view, but it’s worthy to note that farmers are out there, right now, eagerly sharing with the world how well their equipment is working for them. Farmers want to be connected with, spoken to, and continue their interaction with manufacturers long after the sale is done.
One of the many things that makes AgDNA so special are our mobile services; field management, inventory, and automated activity tracking from your mobile device are part and parcel of our core functionality.
But many people don’t realize that alongside the mobile AgDNA App is AgDNA Online, a web-based control center that administers your entire farm from your desktop or laptop computer.
The added bonus of your online account? More computing power means faster response times, more intricate maps, and an enhanced user experience with access to more data than your standard online services.
It’s also completely free.
A more detailed Map Screen
Your Online MyFarm map isn’t limited by size, in fact, the map screen shapes itself to whatever screen size you happen to be working with. You’ll also notice your farm is color coded by crop types, and the added size gives you more flexible control to manage your activities and recording more effectively.
The Charts button is your online farming dashboard; from here you can get a 1,000ft view on all the agronomic data generated by your farm. View activity charts, see commodity prices, watch 24hr rainfall monitors, and view your entire week’s weather forecast with up-to-the-minute data from our partners at Weather Decision Technologies (WDT).
Here you’ll be able to browse your entire activity history, and click on each item for more details. It’s a great way of visually organizing your entire activity list, and when utilizing linked accounts it’s a fantastic way of seeing what person is responsible for each task.
Activity Calendar Button
Add Agenda items to your online farm record so you’ll never miss any of your scheduled tasks ever again.
Missing information on the map screen? Or maybe there’s too much? The Layers Button allows you to turn information that’s overlayed over the top of your maps on and off. In other words, you can make your map as complex or as simplified as you want.
Adding new content or managing existing content is easy
The Setup button is the master switch for your entire operation. Here you can view at a glance all of the separate information for all aspects of your farm, allowing you to view information without having to switch between farms on the ‘Farm Selector’ tool.
Want to add new clients? Vehicles? Fields? RCD data? The Add button on the far right of the screen is the place to do it. This is your toolkit for adding in NEW data into your system. Along with data and account information, you can add new machinery, implements, auxiliary devices and recording equipment and assign them to a particular location here.
The Details Tab
Navigating the details tab is the cornerstone of the AgDNA online profile – once the AgDNA app has finished recording your activities, all of the relevant data for that field will be automatically stored to your AgDNA cloud.
Accessing that information is easy, and can be done so using the ‘Details’ function. We’ve created a little online tutorial that will help you understand this function more.
Just play around – the app and your online account work side by side
What more can we say? To get the full user experience, just play around with your online account and get a feel for what the software can do for you. You’ll get the most of your AgDNA experience by using your mobile app in tandem with your online account: set up and record your activities in the field using your mobile app, and then track your overall seasonal progress using your online account.
Accessing your account is easy, just visit agdna.com and hit the ‘Login’ button on the top right of the screen.
Of course by “get on board” I’m not referring to anything politically or theologically minded, and I’m also not implying that we should all suddenly commence throwing Apple watches on our wrists, start believing the Kardashians have something interesting to say, and begin skateboarding down the steps of town hall shouting “Swag!” at the top of our lungs.
Especially the thing about the Kardashians.
What I AM saying however is that modern sociological attitudes aside….and using a misplaced train analogy, we should definitely jump on board the technological express. We’ve probably all been exposed already to new technological advancements for our farms, but recent upgrades in drone technology have created new points of interest in agriculture.
Linking with GPS receivers, UAV’s have the ability to create hi-definition image data and sensory data of your entire farming operation, all with a unique bird’s eye view. We’ve heard the name Drone or UAV thrown around the ag-field now for years, and with the FAA relaxing control of airspace over farms for scouting observations the sky is literally the limit on the types of data they can retrieve.
So here are three reasons all farmers need to think about UAV’s for their growing operation:
1. Replacing plane flyovers for topographical imaging data: UAV’s themselves are inexpensive and require no man made effort to fly them. In fact, GPS coordinated Drones can automatically fly pre-plotted courses and create image data of the topography of your farm for analysis. Farmers can have updated aerial images of their entire operation on a regular basis, meaning they can adapt to changing growing conditions faster
2. Detailed spatial and sensory analysis: Replace a UAV’s camera with a thermal infrared sensor and it will yield important crop analysis data. These images show differences in the amount of reflected light, and are indications of plant health or even soil type. Depending on the filter used, diseased or underperforming areas appear much darker, and treatments can be applied in the correct measurable amounts
3. Spraying and scouting: Drones can even replace humans in doing conventional forms of farm activities. While a UAV certainly does not have the payload of a traditional sprayer, it can be used to reach inaccessible areas for accurate precision crop input application. In other words, if you’ve pinpointed particular areas of interest that require attention and don’t need a large area sprayed, a drone can either be guided by human hands to the location for accurate application, or even automatically guided by GPS. In essence, a UAV used in this way is like a scalpel, doing precision work that a knife is too large for.
For more information on AgDNA, head on over to our website at agdna.com
AgDNA has been busy introducing a flurry of new filters for our online user accounts; responding to the demands from the agricultural community, this week AgDNA announces the release of the new Irrigation Filter tool.
On your MyFarm map screen, quickly and easily identify which of your fields are irrigated using the new Field Irrigation tool located in the Layers dropdown of your MyFarm Navigational Toolbar. Simply hit the Layers button and select ‘Field Irrigation’.
Alternatively color-code your map screen by Irrigated/Non-Irrigated fields by selecting the Irrigation function in your Crop Type dropdown bar at the top of your MyFarm map screen. The Irrigation tool is located on the bottom of the dropdown.
Using the Print Option located on the right hand side of your Navigational Taskbar, create a report and instantly print a complete view of your farm. Simply hit PRINT, select the overlay information you want layered over the top of your map, and use the Print options provided when your report loads in your browser.
Printing field maps is a great way of increasing the productivity of your farm, and a very simple way of creating accurate records of your farming season.
How to Print out a copy of your fields using your online account:
1. Hit the PRINT icon on your top navigational taskbar
See more exciting features now at AgDNA
Last Monday a new report on the employment outlook of the Agricultural Industry was released by Purdue University’s College of Agriculture, with funding support from the US Department of Agriculture’s National Food Institute.
The report, outlining a 5 year job projection within the food, agricultural and renewable resources sectors, concluded that another 58,000 jobs will become available annually in the United States.
According to Purdue University, the new employment opportunities reflect the growth within the food industries, in particular the need to support the commercialization of food as the population increases.
The report paints an interesting picture that is a stark contrast to the reality of the agricultural sector at the present time; farmers are watching their yields shrink, while at the same time they watch the cost of running their farm increase.
So while the new jobs are an indicator that the world’s demand for food is increasing, unfortunately it also reminds us that the pressures that prevent farmers from supplying food is unrelenting. The industry is currently caught in the midst of a tug of war, with the persistent boom in food commercialization on one side, and a team of beleaguered growers and farm operators defiantly tugging in the opposite direction on the other side.
Unfortunately in this game of tug of war the farmers can never win, the best they can hope for is to keep their footing long enough to prevent the collapse of supply.
The cracks are beginning to show – right now in the United Kingdom, figures from DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs) show that in the past 12 months, revenue derived from farming has dropped 4.4% – these figures show an alarming trend, because last year the UK experienced its best weather for decades, and reported higher than average yields.
Right now it appears it’s all a game of numbers, with the drop in commodity prices seemingly to blame for the shift in farmer’s fortunes. Unfortunately the buck doesn’t stop there, because from an agribusiness point of view the fall in commodity prices stem from an oversupply of produce from cheaper markets.
Hence, the tug of war continues – demand increases, and so does supply, and the more the two go up the less profitable commodities become if the current trend continues.
So while it’s obvious new business models for the industry need to be generated, there are ways that farmers can see an instant change in profitability in the short term.
It’s somewhat a slap in the face to suggest to growers that they can better manage their farms; in fact most farms operate to their upmost financial and technological capacity. There are however new methodologies currently in practice that can trim operating costs even further, and don’t require anything more than a willingness to adopt new technologies.
The Software Solution
It’s easy to believe that software requires extra input – one of the biggest reasons to shy away from software farm management is the notion that it requires more work on top of existing duties. Good farm management software is automatic, requires little to no manual input, and automatically links to existing farm machinery.
So what does farm management software do? In short it takes every element of your farm, such as machine usage, supply costs, field expenditure etc, and compares the data to the overall profitability of real-time commodity prices. This way you can fine tune your production costs to the nth degree and squeeze dollars out of areas of your farm that previously were not being recorded or handled accurately.
For instance, by accurately tracking vehicle movements seasonally you can save on future fuel supply costs by isolating the amount of acres worked and automatically comparing that to your vehicle’s miles/gallon gas mileage. A good software package should then be able to accurately predict the amount of fuel you’ll need for the next season.
The same example works for things like seed application or spraying – by tracking exactly how much you use, the software can automatically predict how much you’ll NEED to reach your seasonal yield target.
It’s these small tweaks that help tip the favor in the ongoing tug of war.
Some software packages however are expensive, while other like AgDNA are free and don’t require any payment at all. Of course AgDNA isn’t just a standard farm management package, it’s actually a tool that also links to your mobile device through a mobile application; something that ties in perfectly with the next farm management type.
Plug-and-Play mobile devices
The term plug-and-play may seem a little outdated these days, but the sentiment remains – automated devices that fit into existing architecture and work straight away without any external requirements.
These days the best plug and play technology is our pre-existing mobile devices like Smart Phones and Tablets. Loaded with the right apps, they can use GPS tracking to accurately record your location in the field, and send that back to an online server or your existing farm management software.
In other words, by fixing your phone or tablet onto your machinery, you can automatically record your vehicle mileage and start plotting movements accurately on a map. With automatically updated maps, you can start visually comparing your movements each season against the season before, giving you a complete digital overview of your farm.
A Precision Package is actually just a mixture of the first two examples; however it’s probably the most effective methodology in reducing the operational costs of your farm.
In essence, what they do is tie all your existing farm data together and present it on a single platform.
AgDNA for example, is a mobile software package that is partnered with equipment manufacturers like John Deere, that will send all the data being recorded directly by the machine into an online account. In other words every time you use your farm machinery, the fuel usage, the seed and spray application, the hours worked, the mileage, the percentages of the tank mix, EVERYTHING, is sent to an online database for the farmer to generate reports from.
The AgDNA package will then overlay all this information onto a map, so you can visually perceive all of your farming activities. But AgDNA doesn’t just overlay machine data, it can also tie in data from other devices and services such as weather (from Weather Decision Technologies), moisture reports, soil survey data, and information from probe devices in-field.
A good Precision Package, like AgDNA, can then take all of that raw data and start making projections for upcoming seasons, taking into account real-time information like commodity prices and weather conditions. Essentially, the more data that goes in, the more detailed the information that comes out the other end.
In the end, efficiency is the key to better farm management.
Ending the Tug of War
Farming conditions are slowly changing, and not just in a financial sense – right now the south west of the United States is facing an ecological change in farming conditions. Australia and South America too are about to feel the effects of El Nino, with drought expected to start taking its toll on the agricultural centers of northern Australia.
So while ecology doesn’t aid the demand for food directly, it does affect the supply.
New methodologies in combating finances are a must; you see, the desire for better farm management techniques is not derived from a grower’s ability to be competitive, but is derived from a genuine concern that both their business and livelihoods are at stake in the current economic downturn. In other words better agribusiness models are required to not only stop the agricultural sector from sinking, but to stop the lives of the families invested within it from sinking too.
To summarize – while the current situation in agriculture may look bleak, Software Management, Device Management, and Precision packages provide farmers with an effective means to adding weight into the tug of war, and fixes such as AgDNA need to be explored in greater depth as permanent solutions to the problem of handling farm efficiency.
Farming is growing smarter, but with so much disparate on-farm data being amassed from precision ag equipment, it’s often tough to capture what matters and weed out what doesn’t. Paul Turner, the CEO of cloud-based mobile farm management platform AgDNA believes that, “Our algorithms help farmers feed the world”.
“Commercial farming is moving from human generated to machine generated data with tractors, irrigation equipment and remote sensors streaming data to the internet 24/7. Now that we have all this data, the question is, what do we do with it?” said Turner.
Hence, AgDNA was launched in 2013 with the goal of putting vital information into the hands of growers, contractors, agronomists, and equipment dealers worldwide with the help of powerful data analytics.
By automating the delivery of precision farming data and agronomic insights to smartphones and tablets, the platform is positioning itself as a one-stop data management tool for workers across the crop production spectrum. Based in Brisbane, AgDNA has users in 157 countries and over 2.8 million acres managed to date.
According to Turner, deskbound data entry just isn’t practical for growers. “Farmers work long days. They don’t want to spend their evenings staring at a computer,” he said. “With AgDNA, farmers no longer have to be tied to the office.”
The platform processes machine-generated data—such as seeding records, fertility applications, weather patterns, soil quality, and health yield —and provides subscribers with real-time, geo-spatially accurate information about the productivity of every acre on every field. No data entry required. Growers can then benchmark progress, view “seed prescriptions,” assess equipment performance, and determine what crops will best thrive under current conditions.
In addition to its publicly available app, AgDNA is one of the few companies licensed to access production data from the MyJohnDeere.com data management platform. The company has developed private label precision farming apps for some of the world’s largest farm equipment dealers, including many under the John Deere umbrella. Case New Holland, AGCO, Valley Irrigation and Reinke Manufacturing are among the other major OEMs in partnership with the AgDNA platform.
“I’m unaware of any other system that does what AgDNA does—automating data collected from farm machinery, spatially processing the data online and drawing meaningful insights from that information – delivered directly to your smartphone or tablet,” Turner said.
Over the next two years, Paul plans to leverage the scalability of the cloud-based platform and broaden AgDNA’s network reach to include all major international markets. Ultimately, he hopes the platform will better connect the farming community and its ever-expanding fleet of internet enabled smart machinery.
“Agriculture has undergone four revolutions”, said Turner. “The first was mechanization, followed by plant nutrition, and then genetics”.
The fourth, he says, is data. “The data revolution is going to maximize the benefits of the first three and help feed the world’s growing population..”
Read our previous article here for more information on AgDNA
Since late 2014, AgDNA has been working diligently with farmers, crop producers and farm equipment dealers to develop and fine tune new mobile based farming methodologies for the agricultural industry.
The aim was to create a single platform for all farm managers worldwide to accurately auto-record all of their farming activities, and to overlay this information with data pulled in from every piece of equipment at their disposal on their farm.
The result is the AgDNA Precision platform – a digital representation of a user’s farm, collating spatial information from farm machinery, weather satellites, soil probes and field boundaries, and measuring them against the underlying expenditure of the grower’s season.
With fine tuning and real world testing, AgDNA believes that there is a single one-app solution that can tie in unrelated and un-supported data into a singular platform.
Defining the problem, and how real world testing is turning the tide on the market downturn
As of Christmas 2014, several farm machinery dealers have partnered with AgDNA and have provided them with real world testing opportunities. The feedback from farmers in the field has been critical in developing new methodology; utilizing the resources of these suppliers, AgDNA has become the first to visually overlay multiple equipment datasets into a single environment for immediate comparison.
The real world testing has also brought to light the most crucial concern facing growers in real world farming situations: the desire for better farm management techniques is not derived from a grower’s ability to be competitive, but is derived from a genuine concern that both their business and livelihoods are at stake in the current economic downturn. In other words better agribusiness models are required to not only stop the agricultural sector from sinking, but to stop the lives of the families invested within it from sinking too.
This genuine real world feedback was important in creating additional reporting functions – AgDNA, more than any other management application, has broken down farm activities to an even greater degree. Farmers have the ability to not only auto-record their equipment activities, but they can break down that data to the nth degree with multiple crop inputs, definitive units of measure for seed application, and even tank mix percentages for sprayer applications.
Results of real world testing, and the launch of AgDNA 3.0
AgDNA will be regularly updating the real world feedback and results of its testing phase here in the AgDNA blog.
All of this is culminating towards the launch of AgDNA 3.0 – which will cement itself as the world’s premiere mobile and online farm management application.
AgDNA hopes that by creating a free service for all growers, the real world experiences of farmers and suppliers, such as Tennessee Tractor, will create better agribusiness methodology and help combat the lean forecasts for upcoming seasons.
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