Using Technology to Grow Your Agricultural Business
Today, more than any time in the past, running an agricultural operation requires skill across an array of business areas. Technology can make this difficult task a little easier.
Applications, or apps, familiar to other small business owners may be helpful to farmers and ranchers as well. The following applications put time back in your day by helping you manage ag operations more efficiently and in some cases, cost-effectively as well. Best of all, many can be installed and operated from your smartphone, making it possible to get work done in the field, at home and everywhere your ag business takes you.
Aldrich Advisors are here to help you use technology to grow and strengthen your business. We help you select, integrate and use the right technology in the right places for your ag operation. Check out some of our recommendations below, or reach out directly to your Aldrich Advisor.
Developing a Mobile Mindset
The first step in making operations more efficient at your farm or ranch is developing a mobile mindset. Managing operations used to be something that required a desktop computer, but today, technology has been minimized and upgraded for smartphones and tablet devices.
Many apps are developed specifically with farmers and ranchers in mind. Some are product-specific, and some are more intuitive than others, but all are designed to simplify your day-to-day routines. Tools like field notes and farm management offer you the ability to optimize your operation, all with the touch of a finger.
Here are some of the best apps for farmers and ranchers to help manage all aspects of ag operations.
Irrigation Systems, Field & Crop Management
Unsurprisingly, a number of apps have cropped up to help farmers and ranchers keep an eye on rainfall amounts, soil conditions and nitrogen levels, among other crop conditions. Some just monitor one condition, while others are comprehensive, accommodating field notes, inventory levels, spraying schedules, farm equipment and more all in one simple, integrated platform.
Top apps in this category include:
- Growers Edge
- Farm at Hand
- Pocket Rain Gauge
- Nutrient ROI Calculator
- Citrus Pests Key
- Farm at Hand
- Ranch Records
- ID Weeds
Many manufacturers, seed suppliers and equipment providers have developed apps specifically for their products and equipment. Connected Farm, for example, is Trimble’s solution for farm equipment management and allows crop planning, record keeping, budgeting, and financial recording features.
Payroll & Expenses
Managing employees can be as time consuming, if not more so, than crop and livestock management. Apps like BeetClock make managing workers’ time easier. Many mainstream accounting, payroll and expense management platforms have developed versions of their system specifically for farmers and ranchers.
Here are some of the best apps for simplifying accounting, supply cost tracking, invoicing and reporting:
- Quickbooks Online
Explore a few of the apps listed above and find the ones that save you the most time. Many have free trial options that let you test drive the app before you pay for it.
Time Tracking, Time Management & Passwords
Along with accounting and expenses, time tracking and password management can be a frustrating aspect of ag operations. There are a number of apps available to farmers to help manage yours and your employee’s time. Some of the top apps in this category include:
- Eternity Time Log
- My Minutes
Password Keeper apps like LastPass, Dashlane and Keeper Security give you an option outside of pen and paper to record passwords.
Ag News for You
It can be time consuming to keep yourself informed of the latest developments in commodities, ag news and local grain quotes; apps like AgMobile are customizable to provide relevant content to you.
If you sell direct to consumers or to vendors, apps like FarmFan can push out notifications when items are coming into season.
Help Beyond Apps — Technology Consulting for Farmers & Ranchers
Apps can be incredibly helpful for managing daily operations. However, they can’t provide consulting or advice on which technology systems will help you accomplish your goals and grow your business. A new tool is only as good as your implementation. Reach out today to make sure your goals and tech initiatives are aligned.
Aldrich Advisors provides technology consulting, financial and business planning for farmers and ranchers at every stage to help them use technology to grow and strengthen their ag operations. By equipping you with more reliable systems and dependable data, we help you make sound business decisions, knowing you have the right technology in place to spur growth and innovation.
Meet the Author
Vice President, Business Strategy
Aldrich Technology LLC
Peter Adams leads business strategy for Aldrich Technology. Prior to Aldrich, Peter founded and ran Lighthouse Information Systems, a West Coast technology consultancy focused on leading clients through technological and operational challenges in order to promote growth and facilitate successful systems. While running Lighthouse for more than 35 years, Peter served clients across countless industries,... Read more Peter Adams
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