Brownrigg Agriculture, based in the highly productive Hawkes Bay region of New Zealand, is one of the country’s largest farming operations. Encompassing 12 farms and over 10,000 hectares, it’s a complex and dynamic business. In addition to producing squash, maize and Wagyu beef, Brownrigg Agriculture farms sheep on a large scale, with over 130,000 lambs moving through the farm gates every year.
Good farmers need to manage their inputs and outputs carefully. Keeping tabs on stock, tracking animal health procedures, and managing employee costs via timesheet are just a few of the factors that can fatten or trim margins. So, the company’s Livestock Operations Manager, Hayden Ashby, was keen to enlist the help of technology.
Shepherds with smartphones
Hayden looked at a number of possible ways to make better use of data.
“We wanted to streamline things. Guys were spending a lot of time on admin when we’d rather have them out in the field,” he said.
The company had previously tried getting farm staff to use desktop computers and email to compile and feed production data into the system. This simply added a layer of time-consuming admin at the end of the day. Then Hayden looked at the possibilities of creating a mobile app with the Tabral platform.
“If we could get them using apps on smartphones out in the field, we could solve a lot of issues. When you look at it that way Tabral makes a lot of sense.”
Smarter farming with more accurate data
Brownrigg Agriculture has introduced several mobile apps based on the Tabral platform. One of the first was a Time Clock app to allow accurate management of shepherds’ time. Now shepherds can move from one Brownrigg property to the next, clocking off from one farm and clocking on at another on their smartphones. This allows management to allocate costs more efficiently, with farm managers receiving a summary of staff hours every day.
The business developed another app to track animal health procedures. When you have a schedule that involves hundreds of thousands of animals, it’s vital to keep tabs on product usage. The Tabral system enables Brownrigg Agriculture to gather animal health data efficiently and keep it in one place for easy reference.
Another bonus is the way Brownrigg Agriculture staff can now capture data on stock movements. Every time stock are moved between the company’s farms or sent to the slaughterhouse, the farm staff use a dedicated smartphone app to record details on stock weight, destinations, and truck movements. This is fed into Brownrigg’s Farmax system, which drives the business’ pasture budgeting and financial modelling.
As Hayden says, “It’s pivotal that we capture all stock movements. This lets us maximise production on every farm.”
Making the complex simple
Hayden and the rest of Brownrigg Agriculture management team are strong believers in the value of mobile data. They’re using apps to reduce the admin burden on staff while increasing accuracy and fine-tuning efficiency. What’s more, the process of introducing mobile apps to the business has been painless.
“Tabral were great. Their back-up services have been brilliant,” he says “We wanted to streamline things in the field, and that’s exactly what we’ve achieved with the Tabral apps.”
Brownrigg Agriculture is a large-scale farming business in New Zealand, with 12 farms specialising in cropping, beef, and lamb farming.
Keeping track of staff and stock proved a challenge, with desktop computers adding time and complexity to an already complex business.
The business developed a Time Clock app to allocate shepherds’ time against several cost centres.
A Tabral app has also been developed to capture animal health procedures so the business can keep accurate records of anti-parasite and other procedures.
Another Tabral app allowed staff in the field to enter all stock movements without delay, to assist in feed budgeting.
Tabral apps deliver data into Brownrigg’s computer system, which runs the Farmax financial modelling and pasture management.