The Jansz Parish vineyard produces a variety of wine and needed a better solution to gain insight into the detailed cost per hectare. It also wanted to produce accurate production budgets for future seasons without adding extra layers of administration and complexity.
Jansz viticulturist James Aubrey implemented Agworld to capture all input and labour costs involved in production. The whole team at the Jansz Parish uses Agworld, not only for capturing costs but for recording agronomic observations in the vineyard.
By capturing all costs in Agworld, James is able to accurately predict costs for upcoming seasons, track these costs as the season progresses and easily produce the detailed reports that he needs.
Producing grapes in a cool climate
The Jansz Parish Vineyard in Penna, Tasmania, is a 220-hectare property owned by the Hill-Smith family. The vineyard, originally planted in 1999, currently boasts 62ha of mature grapevines, 42ha of young vines planted in 2017 and another 80ha of conservation covenant, home to endangered flora, Tasmanian devils, wallabies, echidnas and a range of other species. The vines are all planted on a trellis system with vertical shoot positioning. Due to its cool climate, not unlike the famous Champagne area in France, the Jansz Parish Vineyard produces grapes mainly for Jansz Tasmania sparkling wines. The grape varieties grown here are mainly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with smaller plantings of Riesling, Pinot Meunier, and Sauvignon Blanc.
Jansz viticulturist James Aubrey explains a bit more about the diversity of the Jansz Parish vineyard: “The vineyard has three types of soil from heavy black cracking clays on dolerite to light duplex soils on sandstone and transitional soils. Because of this diversity, we need to monitor our nutrition closely with soil testing six weeks post-harvest, petiole analysis pre and post flowering, and dry ash analysis at harvest. We also focus on biodiversity by planting flowering crops every 10th row, along with corridors of native bush and a cover cropping program. Cover cropping helps us increase biodiversity while also providing erosion control, improved water filtration, weed management, increased organic matter and buffering of soil temperature.”
Using data to structure operations
James Aubrey first saw Agworld used by his agronomist, Tom Brown with Serve Ag in Bridgewater, Tas. James elaborates: “We were using a different program, but it was time consuming, not user-friendly and it could not produce the reports that I needed. When Tom showed me Agworld, I immediately liked the user interface and functionality; it’s intuitive and easy to use for new users. We employ around 30 people in the vineyard, depending on the season, and I needed to make sure that the solution I chose was suitable for everyone involved. We employ a large group of former refugees from Bhutan, who grew up with little technology and with English being their second language. They have been able to pick up Agworld on the iPad very quickly because it is so intuitive and with predictive text, communication has become much easier. By all using the same platform, everyone feels like they’re part of the team and they help me with entering a lot of data; it’s a win-win!”
Like all vineyards, the Jansz Parish vineyard has a couple of big costs that make up the bulk of the spend each year: fertilizer, compost, chemical and labor, with the latter being the most significant. James: “We input all the pruning, wire-lifting and other activities in Agworld, which keeps track of how much money we spend on labor on each block. By logging individual jobs, we get a really good overview of cost per hectare.
We also have a field crew manager, Miwa, who does a lot of scouting. It’s really handy that we were able to create a scouting template for her where she can enter phenological and disease data and other observations. I look at scouting reports all the time as it captures important observations and information.”
Turning data into reports
Data only becomes useful once you can easily create reports based on it, and creating reports is something that James does frequently. James elaborates: “We have been using Agworld for 18 months now and we are now able to plan for the upcoming season based on what we did last year, both from a cashflow and input perspective. I use the planning report to calculate product requirements and get quotes from suppliers. The more accurate the planning reports are, the better my buying power; by using last year’s actuals and farm performance report, I can really be quite accurate. The same goes for our accounts department, when they want to know what our labor and therefore cash flow requirements are I can give them a detailed overview of what we are planning to do. They have been very impressed with the reports I send them. The good thing about the data structure in Agworld is that I have the labor costs in my Agworld account, but I don’t have to share this with anyone else, so I can keep this private.”
As is the case for any producer of food products, Jansz has to track their product usage so they have an audit trail and can show they are compliant with regulations. James: “I use Agworld to create spray sheets and do all my input planning; once these plans have been executed on, I turn them into an actual. I also capture the weather situation at the time of spraying, so my spray records are complete. By recording all this information in Agworld I have peace of mind that I am compliant with relevant regulations at all times.”
Profitability is key at every vineyard, with Jansz Parish being no exception; James: “During the season I can now see in Agworld how our profitability is tracking by putting in expected yield, and a rough market price of the grapes. In combination with tracking how we perform compared to the costs that we had planned on, I know exactly where we stand at any given point during the season. To me accuracy is key, and I wouldn’t know how I could efficiently run the Jansz Parish Vineyard without this information.”
Improving an agronomist’s efficiency and transparency
In his work as an agronomist, Ruaan Du Plessis realised that higher crop monitoring requirements combined with larger orchard sizes and an increased need for information by growers necessitated a new approach to data accessibility and transparency.
Strategically using input and production cost tracking
Daly Potato Co. leases land to grow potatoes but is not sure of the exact returns of this leased country. As producers of food products that are sold to consumers as-is, auditors require accurate records of inputs used in the growing process.
Transferring the family farm to the next generation
James Reamer had already managed succession planning from a land and asset point of view, but knew there is a lot more to pass on than just the asset. Jamie, his daughter, wanted to help facilitate the knowledge and experience transfer as quickly and effectively as possible and knew a digital platform was the best opportunity to do so. Jamie also knew that she needed to be in the field to really learn the farm’s subtleties and be of the greatest value to the business.