Dig­i­tal or ana­logue — What qual­i­ties does a good field index need?

Your field cat­a­logue is your con­stant com­pan­ion through­out the year, regard­less of whether it is kept as Excel lists, hand­writ­ten or in crammed file fold­ers. Per­haps you’re still man­ag­ing your field maps on an ana­logue basis and are con­sid­er­ing man­ag­ing them dig­i­tal­ly in future? Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion offers a range of options in agri­cul­ture, such as sup­port­ing the doc­u­men­ta­tion require­ments in accor­dance with the cross com­pli­ance regulations.

No doubt doc­u­men­ta­tion is already rou­tine­ly car­ried out using field maps in your farm and is inte­grat­ed into your work­ing process­es. How­ev­er, it may be worth re-exam­in­ing your sys­tem dur­ing the qui­eter win­ter months. Dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion in farm­ing and util­is­ing dig­i­tal field maps can be of great ben­e­fit, espe­cial­ly for small­er farms with­out addi­tion­al labour­ers. A dig­i­tal field cat­a­logue can be used effi­cient­ly with one or more labour­ers if all work­ers can doc­u­ment online direct­ly from the field.

Ben­e­fits of dig­i­tal field catalogues? 

Ana­logue field maps become con­fus­ing over time and are prone to errors. The dig­i­tal ver­sion can cre­ate a solu­tion here. The agri­cul­tur­al soft­ware allows the doc­u­men­ta­tion to be set out in a clear way and eas­i­ly man­aged using a PC, tablet or smart­phone, whether you’re at the office or away. The data in this case is gen­er­al­ly stored using a Cloud sys­tem, mean­ing it is secure even in the event of dam­age to your com­put­er. This method of doc­u­men­ta­tion is also inde­pen­dent of any giv­en loca­tion. All agri­cul­tur­al activ­i­ties can be per­formed on loca­tion using Agrar­soft­ware by sev­er­al employ­ees. From soil cul­ti­va­tion and fer­til­i­sa­tion to crop pro­tec­tion and har­vest­ing, all data can be record­ed. This data can be used to auto­mat­i­cal­ly cal­cu­late the sow­ing rate or fer­tilis­er appli­ca­tion. The sched­ul­ing can be used for mul­ti­ple fields, while the link with weath­er data sim­pli­fies plan­ning agri­cul­tur­al process­es. In addi­tion, the dig­i­tal field maps can be used for cross com­pli­ance-con­firm­ing doc­u­ments that con­tain every­thing you need in the event of a check. A major advan­tage of dig­i­tal field maps, how­ev­er, is that they offer an overview of all fields at a glance, with­out dig­ging through moun­tains of paper or Excel lists.

Desk with laptop and paper tray

Image by Pex­els on Pixabay

If a deci­sion has to be tak­en between dig­i­tal and ana­logue, the focus rests on easy, intu­itive oper­a­tion in order to min­imise the sources of error. The var­i­ous agri­cul­tur­al soft­ware pro­grams avail­able often include sev­er­al addi­tion­al func­tions besides pure field man­age­ment. Depend­ing on the provider, addi­tion­al crop rota­tions can be planned, appli­ca­tion maps cre­at­ed and busi­ness analy­ses per­formed. Auto­mat­ed doc­u­men­ta­tion of agri­cul­tur­al activ­i­ties or field plan­ning may not only sim­pli­fy work, but also increase the effi­cien­cy of your farm. Once all’s said and done, when select­ing suit­able agri­cul­tur­al soft­ware pro­grams, it is impor­tant to decide on a farm-spe­cif­ic basis which appli­ca­tions are par­tic­u­lar­ly ben­e­fi­cial for the farm.

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