There are essentially two types, the one-trick ‘black box’ plasma TV and the all singing all dancing SmartTV. Unlike your TV, the decision you make about your farm recording system now could have significant implications for the future of your farm from productivity to profitability.
I bought a SmartTV, it’s 4K and has more features than you can shake a stick at, and I’m very happy with it. It replaces my old plasma TV— a dumb one-trick pony well past its use-by-date. Like my old TV (and like most of NZ) I use my SmartTV to watch Married at First Sight and stream Netflix. But it’s all the other stuff my SmartTV can do, that I’m not using yet that I’m excited about and ultimately the reason I upgraded.
Similar logic can be applied to farm recording systems. There are essentially two types, the one-trick ‘black box’ plasma TV and the all singing all dancing SmartTV. Unlike your TV, the decision you make about your farm recording system now could have significant implications for the future of your farm from productivity to profitability.
At the heart of any farm recording system is the ability to record and recall information quickly and easily, essentially replacing your farm notebook and diary. A farm recording system (whether it’s a dumb black box plasma or a SmartTV) that doesn’t allow you to record stuff quickly and easily isn’t much use to anyone.
A key question to ask yourself is, what can I do with the information I’ve been recording? Right now, just being able to search and recall that information might be enough, but what about next season? Anyone who has ever set foot on a farm will tell you that its the relationship between the different bits of information (and between seasons) where the real value gets created. A farm recording system that can help you make those connections will be valuable in the short, medium and long-term.
The problem with farm recording systems like the black box plasma TV is they don’t allow you to do anything useful with all the information you’ve inputted. There are no maps, no farm plans, no feed wedges, just tasks, calendars and timelines. The other problem with a black box system is the data is trapped inside, you can’t do anything with the information because it’s all locked up tight.
The alternative to the black box is the SmartTV farm recording system that allows you to record and capture information just like the black box, but unlike the black box, it gives you somewhere useful to go in the future. You’ve got options, so you can start to use all the information you’ve been recording to help you make more informed decisions, from stock rotation and pasture management to simplifying FAPs and FEPs. If you’re not ready to take the next step you can always use your farm recording system in its most basic form like the black box plasma TV, but you can feel reassured that the option of the SmartTV is there when you’re ready for it.
The SmartTV can appear quite daunting and isn’t as easy to use in the short term and it might be a little more expensive, but the peace of mind you’ll get knowing you’re using a system that can grow and adapt with you through generations, is a trade-off worth making.
Long term, your farm information and data are wealth assets and you need to be able to manage, maintain and even sell it as you would any other asset. Having all your farm data tied up in a dumb black box that won’t let you exploit it, is in our opinion, a decision you’ll ultimately regret.
If you’re thinking about a farm recording system, think about the SmartTV analogy. You can use your SmartTV as a dumb TV for as long as you like. But when the time comes to make the TV do something clever then you’ll be very glad you’ve got a SmartTV!