The Young family have been farming in the rural settlement of Kaiwera since 1876. Robert, who took over the farm in the late 1990s after returning home from Lincoln, says that the way he farms now is completely different to the way his ancestors did 147 years ago.
Over the years, Robert has acquired more land, growing the farm to 982 ha, comprising of 5,500 ewes, 265 cattle, and finishing 2,000 - 6,000 store lambs. He added that he also plans to graze 2,000 dairy cows over the next winter.
He spent many years farming without the need for any farm software, but as the farm got bigger, he found it increasingly hard to keep track of what was happening on the farm. Robert eventually started using FarmIQ seven years ago and says he would now “struggle to farm without it”.
Modern farm management
Robert values the versatility FarmIQ brings to the table for modern farm management, covering the realms of planning, stock recording, mapping and reporting on all farm activities. The FarmIQ app helps streamline these activities and keeps them all in one place, so that Robert and his team can pop online and see what’s happening on farm on any given day.
The ability to be more precise and reduce guesswork is also important for Robert, whether that’s in relation to nutrient management planning, recording animal deaths or monitoring crop rotations. Modern farming consists of thousands of micro-decisions every day, and having precise historic data for your farm makes those decisions that little bit easier.
Robert said he finds FarmIQ to be extremely accessible and easy to use. “It’s as simple as touching on a mob, shifting it, easy as that. It takes less than 30 seconds to update, and everyone has time for that.”
The FarmIQ app can also be loaded onto the devices of all farm workers, with different levels of access given to each. This allows FarmIQ to be an integral part of daily workflow on the farm, providing a place where workers can communicate what’s been completed and what still needs to be done. This feature is particularly handy for new staff who are not yet familiar with where things are located.
“They can hit the GPS button on the app, and it shows them where they are on the farm,” says Robert.
When it comes to stock reconciliation in FarmIQ, the animal numbers on Robert’s farm are live and get updated in real-time. Animal deaths are recorded and stock are counted in the yards and adjusted on the FarmIQ app if necessary, and having real-time stock reconciliation is particularly helpful at the end of the financial year.
The next generation
Farm compliance – often considered a dirty word in farming – is an unavoidable reality for all agricultural operations. Robert, however, views it differently, recognising its utility rather than considering it an obligatory chore. Leveraging FarmIQ, he can track animal health treatments, chemicals and fertilisers across paddocks, which not only covers his compliance requirements, but acts as a powerful management tool providing accurate insights for planning and decision making.
“You know exactly what’s been drenched or vaccinated, when and where chemical has been applied which is helpful from a management point of view,” explains Robert.
Robert says that the introduction of the new FarmIQ app is a significant improvement, especially in terms of its intuitive navigation and accessibility, and he believes that having your farm’s data stored on FarmIQ is crucial for the next generation of farmers who are increasingly reliant on technology. “Now the next generation can easily find landmarks, water troughs and fences long after I’m gone.”
Robert’s son works on his farm and has quickly embraced this new technology, with Robert jokingly adding that “it’s so hard to get a young person to use a phone”.
A key consideration for any farm is succession planning, and this is arguably even more important for the Young family farm as it has such a rich history going back multiple generations. FarmIQ plays a key role in providing its users with a system that is not only user friendly, but also capable of evolving with the farm’s needs, the family’s needs, and external rules and regulations.
With FarmIQ, the transition of management and responsibilities from one generation to the next becomes a straightforward process; the younger generation will be able to step into their roles with the confidence and tools to farm effectively for many years to come.
“FarmIQ is a good system that can grow with you and do everything that you need and is always adapting to change over time”, says Robert. “It’s big and powerful enough and has everything in one place”.