“My tractors rarely leave the yard without a work plan generated from Gatekeeper,” says Andrew Martin who used rural IT specialist Landmark Systems to upgrade all of his software in 2007.
He now uses Landmark‘s KEYPrime Accounts and really likes the flexible reporting which he customises to suit each business. “I have set up each client as a separate enterprise and several different cost centres – it is efficient to be able to get out on any field when the time is right and to transfer, record and charge stock effortlessly between businesses.”
In 2006 Andrew Martin realised that as his arable contracting business was expanding from the 1600 acre family farm on Romney Marsh he should look at the efficiency of his operation. The family business was already using an outdated DOS based accounting program and Farmade’s crop recording software MultiCrop. After some research, which included a visit to see the accounting software options from Landmark at Cereals 2007, he was impressed by KEY Accounts and a demonstration visit was set up post harvest. Andrew has since upgraded to KEYPrime Accounts in April 2014.
Andrew did not hesitate to place his order for KEY Accounts but decided to finish his ‘07 harvest in MultiCrop before upgrading to Farmade’s latest crop management system - Gatekeeper. He needed to achieve accuracy of application, tighter stock control and individually tailored client reports. He is delighted to be able to separate both his accounting and crop recording records for each business client, and has the facility to manage the cross over between stocks so that if a business runs out of stock it is easy to borrow and buy from another. “This is a real advantage of scale as timeliness is critical,” he says. An implementation schedule was produced by Landmark to ensure a smooth transfer and safe conversion of data. This involved planned on-site visits by James Lutener, a regional Landmark Sales and Training Manager, to assist with reporting requirements, month end routines and setting up budgets.
The business is now looking after twice the acreage for five clients operating a standard arable rotation of wheat, barley, oats, beans, peas and OSR. Gatekeeper is run centrally on two sites by Andrew, his Arable Manager James Rimmer and Charlotte West who also does the accounts and invoicing. Charlotte is on-farm for one morning a week and described by Andrew as “an expert KEY accounts user!” A complementary mapping and precision farming module helps to organise the farm specific rotations for each block of land so that each client is tapped into Gatekeeper for:
James saves time by adding field data on the move in the cab on a hand held machine and if all has gone to plan there is little work to do back in the office. Work plans for spraying, fertilizer application and in winter muck spreading are produced so that quantities, location and timing are all controlled and traceability is ‘a given’. As all the land farmed is in a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) compliance is imperative, and Andrew likes the fact that his NMax calculations are kept on one plan.
Andrew works closely with Precision Farming specialists Farm Image and uses his Gatekeeper precision farming module to give them the information which they require. He explains: “Farm Image receives cropping yield maps from the combine, adds in our soil analysis results and returns the adjusted manure or fertilizer application rate plan for James. Once loaded into the cab software the machine works from map and varies the application rate.”
The Broad Stream Farming clients benefit from Andrew’s knowledge of his software. He recently attended a Landmark Workshop, geared towards Managers, on how to get the best reports for a business out of KEYPrime Accounts. “Each client differs in what they want and how frequently they want it. Of course we all want growing crop yields and costs and I am reliant on my software for these reports and the resulting margin. I can compare and benchmark my own performance across the businesses and be on top of machinery usage, costs and efficiency. Similarly by recording the relevant data on any external contractors I can monitor their productivity and compare the results against my own,” he says.