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Case Study: Simon McCormack & Darryn Schilling

Agworld's Farm Management Software Paves a Pathway to Better Crop Profits in South Australia

In the modern age of digital farming, the ability to easily share and act quickly on key data driving business productivity is paying off for the McCormack family, of South Australia.

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In the modern age of digital farming, the ability to easily share and act quickly on key data driving business productivity is paying off for the McCormack family, of South Australia.

They are implementing a range of sophisticated technologies and real-time data streams in their broadacre cropping and Merino sheep enterprises to improve efficiencies and cut costs associated with monitoring, managing, measuring and analysing performance.

Central to the McCormack’s business planning and operation is better connectivity with their agronomist through the Agworld farm management platform, an app-based system accessed on a smart phone, iPad or personal computer.

Simon and Nicole McCormack, who farm 2100 hectares at Barunga Gap on SA’s Yorke Peninsula with Simon’s brother Nick and his wife Dana and parents Paul and Pauline, started using Agworld in 2010 to digitalise their business records, save time and improve decision-making with their adviser.

The platform allows agronomy advice, recommendations and actions to be seamlessly captured from their agronomist Darryn Schilling, of YP Ag at Bute, while he is in the paddock. It is then stored and shared immediately with family members and staff to make workflow and input procurement seamless.

Simon McCormack said the family’s annual cropping program consisted of wheat, barley and lentils and accuracy and timeliness of operations was vital.

He said being able to receive and record advice from Mr Schilling through the Agworld platform was especially valuable during the crop spraying program.

“All the information I need is in front of me in terms of what paddock/crop I am in, the size of the tank I am using and the exact rate of product recommended,” he said.

“As soon as I finish inputting the data about what I have applied and hit ‘complete’ in the app, the action is saved on the Agworld platform and we can use the records later for cost control analysis and forward planning.

“We are no longer dealing with a messy paper trail, but have our records with us all the time as a reference on our phones and iPads.”

Mr McCormack said the system captured data right through the year, from baits used for mice to herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, harvest information and rainfall.

He said better integration of information with their agronomist with was driving higher profits through:

  • Improved analysis of enterprise gross margins
  • Provision of graphs and figures that could be shared with financiers and other advisers
  • More accurate and faster comparisons between crop enterprises and seasons based on actual activities and costs recorded.

While the Agworld platform is being used by the McCormacks for data sharing with Mr Schilling to boost efficiencies, it does not replace the ‘human touch’ provided by the agronomist.

He continues to regularly visit his clients, but has also embraced the farm management system to better share essential data to keep their machinery rolling.

Mr Schilling said Agworld was also continually evolving with technology advances.

“Already clients can share their rainfall data, if they choose to, and a new feature allows them to automatically receive soil sample information directly from participating soil testing laboratories to their Agworld account,” he said.

“This is based on the app capturing the GPS coordinates from each bag of soil in the paddock and automatically matching-up the sample locations when the laboratory results are returned.”

Mr Schilling said these types of innovations were helping advisers and farmers make the right decisions in a timely manner, based on actual recommendations, records and analysis collected from individual paddocks.

“For my business, I can track product procurement and make sure I have the correct inputs on the farmer’s property in the right quantities at the right time to improve their efficiencies and not slow them or their staff down in their daily tasks,” he said.

Mr Schilling said he uses the Agworld app with clients right throughout the year, from pre-season planning to reviewing results at the end of harvest.

“We add herbicide, fungicide and insecticide use, rotations, disease management and make a plan for the season,” he said.

“This becomes the template for the grower to refer to and update with ‘actual’ records of activities they undertake based on that advice as the season progresses.

“It also provides prompts to get tasks done on time.

“At the end of the season we review business progress and make plans for the next season, including comparing by commodity, region and across seasons to see where the trends may be.”