A new app released for trial today allows farmers to analyse their businesses and test what-if scenarios in minutes that will be particularly useful to dairy farmers comparing milk prices.
Dubbed the "10-minute farm" app by its developer, Xcheque, it will be piloted under the brand OurFarm.app.
"The phone interface of OurFarm.app has been designed to meet the needs of time poor farmers who are not interested in spending hours on a computer entering hundreds of data inputs into complex spreadsheets or web applications," Xcheque creative director David Hauser said.
"The phone touch controls allow farmers to quickly generate an accurate physical and financial business report for their farm.
"They are then able to compare this with industry benchmark data or run what-if scenarios ... all while they are waiting for the fertiliser truck to arrive."
Xcheque was the lead developer of DairyBase for Dairy Australia and also built the Farm Business Strategic Review for Rural Business Support in South Australia.
The trial of OurFarm.app is free and open to all Australian dairy farmers.
At this stage the phone version is limited to the Apple iPhone or iPad.
The associated web application is however usable on a laptop or PC and an Android version is in development.
"We have released the phone app earlier than planned because we know that uncertainty and risk is creating a lot of anxiety on farm," Mr Hauser said.
"COVID-19 is having a dramatic effect on global dairy markets and that will inevitably flow through to the Australian market.
"OurFarm.app is a tool that can give farmers a quick comparison of the 20/21 outlook with 19/20 and previous years.
"Knowing the starting point for the 20/21 year provides a pathway to the solution."
Over the past four years, Xcheque has invested in the development and marketing of its own farm business software product.
The OurFarm.app evolved from a comprehensive cloud-based web application, which brings together the farm data collection and benchmarking capability of DairyBase and the farm planning capability of the Rural Business Support product.
Xcheque principal Dr Jon Hauser said Xcheque had improved on these products with more sophisticated benchmarking, analysis and reporting capability as well as farm planning tools such as budgets, long-term forecasts, and a quick and simple process for generation of a detailed monthly farm cash flow.
"We have known for many years that a quick, user friendly, phone application is necessary to engage farmers directly and increase participation in farm business planning," Dr Hauser said.
"I must admit that I committed to the task a year ago with some trepidation.
"But we did it, and I have been very pleasantly surprised at what David has achieved in functional user design.
"OurFarm.app is quick and simple, but not stupid."
Although Xcheque's trial product was designed for application in Australian dairy farms, David Hauser said the software platform was readily adapted to international markets and other farm sectors.
He said farm data could be entered using any international currency and physical units.
"The language translation capability also helps to bridge the international farm data divide," Mr Hauser said.
The AHDB in the UK are using the company's Global Dairy Farms platform, which can pair with OurFarm.app to consolidate UK and international farm data.
To support their international research, Xcheque installed translations into Spanish, French, Portuguese and German.
"The software is also designed for flexibility of industry application," Mr Hauser said.
"We can establish a cloud-based data service for any agricultural sector very quickly.
"The hard work has been done to create a platform that provides farm business data collection, benchmarking, planning, and industry research"
Xcheque said Global Dairy Farms was currently being trialed by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board in the United Kingdom (AHDB) and the New Zealand dairy farm services group, Intelact.
Intelact, provide farm business services in New Zealand and Australia via the Headlands consulting group. They also support a group of South African dairy consultants. In 2020 Intelact will use Global Dairy Farms for the data entry, analysis and farm reports associated with the New Zealand Dairy Business of the Year Awards.
Xcheque's experience in other farm sectors includes product development for Rural Business Support in South Australia. RBS have used a similar software design for farm business planning across dairy farms, cropping farms and piggeries.
Dairy farmers interested in participating in the trial should contact Jon and David Hauser via email: email@example.com
Have you signed up to Stock & Land's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? Register below to make sure you are up to date with everything that's important to Victorian agriculture.