Crop and Forage Recordkeeping Software
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 agecon.okstate.edu/farmbook) 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 tables are not all-inclusive. Some of the software packages go into intricate detail in products applied to the fields and have detailed scale tickets for harvest sales. As the user experiments with demo versions of the software packages, the capabilities of each program become clearer. Several of the software companies have additional software products and/or modules that work with the basic software package to enhance user control. The end user decides how much information to input, track, calculate, and summarize.
SST Sirrus/Summit Basic
SST Development Group, Inc.
824 N. Country Club Rd.
Stillwater, OK 74075
Phone: 888-377-5334 / 405-377-5334
Farm Works Mapping Software
P.O. Box 250
Hamilton, IN 46742
Field Manager Pro
Farm Credit Canada (FCC) Management Software
1800 Hamilton Street
P.O. Box 4320
Canada S4S 4L3
Farm Files Crops
4684 N. Briargate Ct.
Park City, KS 67219
MapShots Ag Studio Farm
5995A Parkway North Blvd.
Cumming, GA 30040
WinCrop, Farm View Record Keeper, LandView DSS Pro
#600, 10665 – Jasper Avenue
Canada T5J 3S9
Phone: 800-616-9401, 780-448-7476
- Update from an earlier version co-authored by Randy True, former Extension Assistant. Current updates by Brent Ladd, Extension Assistant.
- An internet search was used to identify widely used commercial software products with multiple applications. Companies were contacted to complete a survey noting their program’s parameters. Inclusion 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.
Extension Economist, Regents Professor and Rainbolt Chair of Agricultural Finance
Extension Assistant - Agricultural Finance