Farm Works Software Office Sync Proves Valuable as Input Costs Increase

Barbara Kieker

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

Released about a year ago, interest in Farm Works Software® solution – Office Sync – is on an uptick, according to Scott Nusbaum, Farm Works product manager.  The service enables growers to wirelessly and automatically transfer data, such as fertilizer application rates, from field to office for use in a suite of record keeping, mapping and accounting applications. 

"As farmers begin to add modems to their vehicles to receive RTK corrections for auto-steering, it is a natural tie-in to automate wireless data transfer for record keeping and mapping," Nusbaum said.

Farm Works Software was founded in 1980 as a software development company to serve the needs of farmers and agribusinesses.  Office solutions for field records, accounting, livestock, and mapping formed the core of the company's offerings in the early 90’s.  The company then expanded its software solutions for the field and is now focused on integrating the software solutions together.  Headquartered in Hamilton, Indiana, Farm Works is a division of Trimble Navigation Ltd.

What's new on the Connected Farm™

Farm Works solutions are part of Trimble's Connected Farm integrated operations management solution.  A combination of hardware, software and wireless connectivity, Connected Farm helps farmers be more efficient with inputs while making better-informed decisions.

Although it's been around for a while, Office Sync is proving particularly valuable to growers with the current high price of fertilizers and other inputs.  The solution enables growers to quickly and easily exchange data with the field and office so they can utilize the data with powerful office tools including profit maps of their acreage.

"Most growers look at yield maps but they don't tell the whole picture.  With input costs up, it's important to know if increased fertilizer application rates in a certain area pay off in terms of higher profit," Nusbaum said.

Wireless data transfer also enables growers to make adjustments quickly.  Nusbaum cites a farmer in central Indiana who makes adjustments to fertilizer prescriptions as soon as yield maps are transferred into the office. 

In January, Trimble announced a strategic alliance with Great American Insurance Group to help automate crop insurance reporting under the U.S.D.A. Federal Crop Insurance Program.  Farmers can transfer planting and harvest data directly to the Great American Insurance Group systems from Farm Works Mapping software.

Vehicle Manager is another new service that equips farm vehicles with a modem and GPS system.  The software then enables farmers to track the vehicle location and monitor engine information such as speed, oil pressure and temperature.

Who's using Farm Works software

Currently, Farm Works has more than 20,000 users including all sizes of farms and agri-businesses.  According to Nusbaum, the payback is faster for larger operations but all farms can benefit from the software.

"It's more than just mapping; our software helps with record keeping required by the EPA, it helps with fertilizer analysis and understanding your costs by field.  And the accounting package ties directly into the checks you write, eliminating manual data entry," he said.

Detailed recordkeeping is becoming more critical to growers facing greater regulatory oversight.  While EPA scrutiny and enforcement continue to grow, food safety issues are also driving greater need for traceability and detailed record keeping.

"Farm Works supports the entire operation on an interconnected basis," Nusbaum said.

More information on Farm Works software is available at www.farmworks.com.  More information on Trimble is available at www.trimble.com/agriculture.

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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