Why digital record keeping on your farm makes good business sense

 

With the crop now off and harvested, the focus for most farmers turns to grain marketing and managing contracts and payments.  Overseeing truck loads coming and going during and even after harvest can be a logistical nightmare!  Losing a truckload of grain might sound far-fetched, but those who live and breathe harvest each year know it’s a costly mistake that can and does occur.    

When a farmer sells to a trader, feedlot or end consumer, they must deliver the quantity and quality of the grain stipulated in the contract in order to receive payment.  Getting paid for the work you do is a given for many of us, but when pay cheques come round only once or twice a year (depending on different crop harvests), farmers rely heavily on grain contract execution and buyers meeting their payment terms to pay down debt and for the next round of crop inputs and farm operating expenses.

With paydays few and far between, an accurate, reliable record keeping system that matches grain inventories with contracts and tracks the grain through to payment is vital to ensure every payment is made and received, and to safeguard against over or under delivery against contracts.    

As a truck delivers its load of grain to a buyer’s site, the driver will typically receive a paper ticket in return, confirming receipt of delivery and noting the quantity and quality of the grain. The truck driver then passes this on to the farmer - although sometimes this can take days if the driver is not returning immediately to the farm for another load. Smart phones have made this easier with photo capture of the ticket now an option for many to speed up the data transfer process - but this still means the data entry needs to happen on the farmer’s side for the data to be meaningful.

iPad wheat farmer

Many farmers will then reconcile this ticket or data record against the handwritten notes jotted down when the truck originally left the farm.  Farmers with a digital record keeping system will be able to reconcile this delivery quickly and with confidence - checking the delivery against the digital record that has been saved securely in their farm record keeping software.  The difference between the two? Paper records are notorious for going missing, are subject to human error and can often be illegible.  Records stored using grain tracking software like Waypath on the other hand are secure, accurate and accessible from anywhere to anyone who needs them in real time. 

A ‘digital pocketbook’, Waypath captures all the grain harvest, delivery, sales and payment data that was once stored in notebooks, whiteboards, spreadsheets and on scraps of paper. Waypath creates a single source of truth that farmers can rely on - digital proof of the quality and quantity of grain that has left the farm and also grain that is stored onfarm. 

Using Waypath also means you can view inventory in real time including your quality stack averages for stored grain. Plus, data is saved as soon as it is captured and synced across all users, minimising delays and saving considerable time spent on admin tasks.

Why does this matter?  Harvest is a busy time of year with truck loads of grain coming and going at all hours of the day.  Without an effective record keeping system, a farmer is at the mercy of the data created at the delivery site.  While the farmer may believe 20 truckloads of grain were headed to a site for delivery, the site only has a record of 19 arriving. Who is correct? Where is the proof? And most importantly; where is the missing grain?  Unless the farmer has the data to prove 20 truckloads were destined for that site, it’s likely they’ll only be paid for 19.  Not an ideal outcome.    

Digital record keeping of harvest and post harvest data just makes business sense.  With buying and selling happening around the clock and grain inventories needing to be adjusted to reflect the most up to date position, relying on pen and paper leaves farmers open to mistakes, inaccuracies and double ups.  Using grain management software like Waypath means farmers are always working with data that is updated and synced across all users in real time - in other words everyone working in the operation is on the same page, all of the time. 

To find out how Waypath can improve your grain management and storage record keeping right now, check out our website