Recording paddock information with farm software is now second nature for David Acland and his team on Mt Somers Station.
It means the information is easy to access when needed for a range of purposes, he says.
Mt Somers employs 11 people working fulltime, including David, and contractors are brought in for applying fertiliser, spraying, making baleage and pasture renovation.
“This morning I walked past and saw the Livestock Manager with the software up on his computer and he was planning the day with his team. The boys use it to track where mobs are. It gives them a good visual – they can click and easily see where they all are.”
AN INFORMATION TRAIL
Mt Somers are doing 180ha of winter feed a year as well as another 100 or 200ha of regrassing. The 3000ha effective area is currently subdivided into about 400 paddocks. It’s a lot to keep track of and recording into the software as they go helps.
David’s taking a long-term view. “We are building up a history of our paddocks so that in future we’ll have really good data.”
Mt Somers have compliance requirements coming from several directions, he says, and the software is helping them build up a good information trail. “We’re recording applications of fertiliser and chemicals by paddock. We need to do an environment plan for Environment Canterbury, for our meat processor Silver Fern Farms, and with our dairy farm we need to do it for Fonterra. This software gives us one platform to do it all.”
Over the past 10 years Mt Somers have been doing further subdivision as well as improving pastures. “We want to get down to 6 or 7ha paddocks so we can get better control of grazing. Recording the livestock flow through paddocks helps us to understand the stocking rates month by month. That also helps us prove we are working towards compliance. At the same time we’re looking to fence off any waterways and get that sorted out. We’re having a good look at each block or area using the mapping that comes with the software.”
The software also includes a range of health and safety recording and reporting. “We use it during our Monday morning meeting when we discuss health and safety. We record bullet points about any incidents or reminders about things coming up: like during tailing it might be the risk of burns with the tailing iron or in the summer using sunscreen.”
The software can bring together any information that has been recorded about paddocks and animals on the farm and also carcase performance results from the processor. That wealth of information lets David make comparisons, such as how animals are performing on different crops. “We have used it to track growth rates from weaning to pre winter, for example, and that helped us understand better what we are achieving.”
As a former user of the Endeavour programme, David was looking for “survivability” too. “This software has good support. That was part of it for me when I was looking around at farm software. It is viable as a software business going forward.”
Ongoing development of the software is good for farmers, too. “You can say what you would like to see.”
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