Geofolia – it feels like it is developed for farmers…
Nine miles south west of Bath, two Somerset arable farmers are not only sharing labour, machinery and chemicals but they have gone halves on their crop recording software as well.
In an informal share farming arrangement covering some 1700 acres of owned, rented and contracted land Rob Addicott and Jeremy Padfield decided to buy Geofolia in July 2018. They were moving from a more complicated system which was used predominantly by Rob.
“Jeremy will freely admit that I am the more computer literate of the two us, I had worked out the old system, but I probably only had time to use about 25% of its potential and it was not intuitive or simple. It was ‘do-able’ but I would use the program and input for Jeremy from his diary for invoicing, so we recognised the duplication and began to look for another system.
“There are complex cropping systems on the market which work if you are farming a large amount of land, preferably in one block, with someone full time on crop recording who can make full use of the system. However, when your extended office is the tractor cab, the beauty of Geofolia and its mobile app is that we can direct operations from the tractor seat – granted you need decent signal!”
“The software feels like it has been developed for working farmers.”
Rob explained: “The farms we have are mostly within a five mile radius. We each worked on our respective family dairy farms but the cows were sold nearly twenty years ago, and now we are growing predominantly standard cereal products. In the meantime we were both looking at a nearby farm which came onto the market and it was at this stage that we decided not to compete with each other but to join forces and we have continued to bid for land and contract work on the same basis.”
The resulting acreage is about 1000 acres in arable with 700 acres in grassland, stewardship schemes and woodland. “Our multiple sites was an added complication in our previous cropping software, it wasn’t insurmountable but it was intricate and we had to pay more to have a part of the software unlocked,” said Rob. “Our agronomist uses a different program and importantly we can import his recommendations directly into Geofolia. I have had to spend time learning this invaluable feature but this has taught me more about the program in the process. We have booked a web training session during the winter months so we are self-taught to date, a conscious choice as we prefer to get the most out of the training having compiled our questions coming from a basis of program knowledge.”
Rob and Jeremy heard about Geofolia through their local buying group, Bath District Farmers, who had arranged a Landmark presentation. They liked what they saw but had a few reservations, for instance they wanted to search for jobs between dates as invoicing is done every four months. Rob qualified the buying decision: “Landmark and the development team dealt with the query efficiently, not by saying that they couldn’t do anything about it or that we had to pay more money to unlock a feature, but by providing a solution. So it was not a decision made on price but we felt that we had been listened to, that Landmark was committed to ongoing development and that they wanted a two-way relationship with us moving forward.”
Rob and Jeremy are looking forward to using more of the program including harvest reports now that the autumn drilling, cropping plans and seed treatments are in place. “We accept that this will take time to learn in the first year but we look forward to the results, we like the clear map screen from which most actions in the software are navigated.” Both men are pleased with the increased efficiency for their operators as physical fields come up on mobile devices when everyone is dispersed over the 150 fields under cultivation.
“No-one has to go back to the office or remember field names between operations,” concluded Rob.
Jeremy Padfield summed up his initial reaction to using Geofolia:
“Compared to the platform that we were using previously, we have found Geofolia very user friendly. The ability to log on and zoom into maps on your mobile and select a field or fields that you wish to perform a task is so easy. It also saves a great deal of time as staff can have jobs sent via their mobile with the highlighted fields, the machinery to use as well as any further instructions.”
– Rob Addicott, Addicott Partners & Jeremy Padfield, JD & JS Padfield