Crop and Forage Recordkeeping App
Producers who have computers frequently ask about the availability of software programs to manage crop and forage production records. Before purchasing a software program, it is important to analyze the value of such a system with regards to making better management decisions. Producers should evaluate their existing records to determine the types of information sought from a software program. Are inventory records important? Are summary reports of primary interest? By considering specific record needs, the producer is better equipped to choose an appropriate software package. This publication is a compilation of software programs to be used as a reference for agricultural producers.2
If no records on crop or field performance are currently being kept, a good starting point may be some basic production records. Managers will want to maintain records on variety, planting rates, fertilizer rates, pesticides, fuel consumption, grain, hay, or forage matter produced, etc. for each field to determine prolific or inefficient areas of the operation. Some records, such as Restricted Use Pesticides (RUPs) application, must be maintained according to the 1990 FACT Act.3
The most difficult steps to building a valuable recordkeeping system are (1) making time for recordkeeping, (2) determining which information is economically feasible to collect, and (3) summarizing the data for use in the decision-making process. Meaningful crop and forage records may be handwritten (for example, see Oklahoma Farm and Ranch Account Book) or kept on a computer, tablet or mobile application. The choice of programs, features, and cost of software are the “fine-tuning” portion of recordkeeping. In the following summary of nine commercially-available crop record keeping software packages, the features are described under three headings:
- Common Features
- Technological Information
- Advanced Features
The program purchase costs range from $199 to $750 for basic versions of the software; advanced versions are more expensive. Many software companies offer free program demonstration copies. Programs have various computer requirements such as minimum processor type and speed, minimum RAM, operating system, and hard disk space. Most programs provide comprehensive data entry fields, as well as production summaries.
Before purchasing any software, determine the level and cost of software support that will be provided by the company. In addition, some programs have specific enterprise information that is required before the program will work. Sorting and filtering capabilities and the type of reports generated may vary, but in many cases, producers have the opportunity to customize reports to meet specific needs. Another important feature may include the ability to query or search the data for specific field information. Every operator must determine the amount of time available to devote to practical recordkeeping and weigh this commitment against software costs, data entry features, and the need for information for management purposes.
Information provided about the following programs was confirmed by the software provider’s representative. The summary does not cover all available programs or individual program features. Programs may have other capabilities that are not described in the summary. Producers should contact the respective companies for current purchase information, details on features, and specific hardware requirements.
The features summarized in the following tables are not all-inclusive. As the user experiments with software packages, the capabilities of each program become clearer. Ultimately, the end user decides how much information to input, track, calculate and summarize to best suit their needs.
- Update from an earlier version co-authored by Randy True, former Extension Assistant and Damona Doye. Current updates by Brent Ladd, Extension Assistant.
- An internet search was used to identify widely used com-mercial software products with multiple applications. All information was gathered from published websites. Inclu-sion is this report is not an endorsement of a product nor is exclusion of a program a rebuke of the product
- For more information about the FACT Act, please refer to Extension Fact Sheet EPP-322, Pesticide Recordkeeping Requirements for Crop Production.
- Table 1. Technological Information
- Table 2. Common Features
- Table 2. Common Features Cont.
- Table 3. Other Features
Proagrica Sirrus/Summit Basic
Ag Expert Field
Crop Tracker Crop Production Software
Granular Ag Studio
Phone: 1-833-933-1733, Option 2
Farmbrite Crop Management Software
Easy Farm Crop & Field Manager