TechTip: Farm management software helps farmers improve productivity

Precision farming is intended to improve productivity while making more efficient use of fertilizers, pesticides and water, and minimizing the impacts on the environment. Farm management software can thus help farmers make informed decisions about the use of resources and plan for the future.

Farm Works, a US company, has developed a variety of software packages such as Farm Trac and Farm Site. Farm Trac is a GPS-integrated field record-keeping package written for MS Windows that allows farmers to keep notes on field history and chemical usage, calculate direct costs incurred at the field level and plan future farming operations. Farm Site adds GPS compatibility to Farm Trac and provides state-of-the-art positioning and a limitless number of layers, including soil types and soil tests, details of previous activities and the outline of future plans. These two packages are complemented by field software. Using a pocket PC or a laptop, Trac Mate can be used for on-site field record keeping, while Site Mate - in combination with a GPS receiver - can be used for site-specific mapping, scouting, soil sampling and variable rate control. With Site Mate it is possible to create maps of field boundaries, weed areas, tile lines, spray paths and soil sample locations, and the data can be used in most GIS programmes.

For more information about these and other Farm Works software packages, visit http://www.farmworks.com.

15 January 2006

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