software
The right software solutions can make or break your farming operation. Incorporating software into your everyday routine can streamline your management activities and ensure the highest degree of productivity and profitability for your farm. Here are five of the most important software packages you need to consider this year.

#1. Accounting Packages
Modern accounting packages let you to manage your finances more effectively in a number of ways, including:

  •    Tracking expenditures immediately and over time
  •    Creating predictions for future expenses
  •    Recording profits accurately
  •    Establishing emergency funds for unexpected financial outlays
  •    Managing tax obligations and other recurring costs more effectively

Accounting software packages like Farm Works™ and CenterPoint Accounting for Agriculture are specifically designed to work for those in agriculture business operations.

By implementing these software packages, you can ensure the most accurate financial records for your entire operation. Doing so allows you to manage your budget more effectively while planning ahead for both unexpected expenses as well as planned upgrades for your farm.

#2. Human Resources Management
Keeping accurate employment records is critical to the success of any operation. HR software packages are designed to provide support for your farm by tracking a full range of data, such as:

  •    Recruiting procedures and compliance requirements
  •    Application information and hiring dates for staff members
  •    Onboarding information and procedures
  •    Payroll and benefits data, including health care and other insurance packages
  •    Information regarding workers’ compensation payments
  •    Data regarding termination of employment with your farm
  •    Features for managing reporting requirements for local, state and federal agencies

Programs like Bamboo HR are designed for ease of use and offer robust features for comprehensive human resources management. 

 Integrating an HR system into your regular routine can help you realize a greater degree of control over all the human resources functions throughout your farming operation.

#3. Fleet Management Software

Keeping your farm equipment in top condition is essential to ensure maximum productivity, especially during planting and harvest season. Fleet management software packages were originally designed to help the transportation and shipping industries manage the acquisition, maintenance and turnover of their vehicles. But today, these same packages can provide great support for your farm equipment and vehicles, allowing you to optimize productivity and profitability in this area of your farming business. Some of the most important features of these software packages include the following:

·         Tracking of acquisition costs and resale values, allowing you to retire or upgrade your vehicles and equipment in a cost-effective manner

·         Monitoring fuel costs for vehicles to help you weed out underperformers

·         Providing reminders for recommended maintenance tasks

·         Offering suggested guidelines for replacement of aging equipment, ensuring that you can plan effectively for these necessary expenditures

Fleet management software packages like those offered by FIIX CMMS and RTA Fleet Management provide real-time tracking of the locations of your vehicles and field equipment and help you keep up with the maintenance necessary to ensure your farm equipment is in top shape. Some systems even offer mobile applications that can deliver anytime, anywhere access to this data with a swipe of your Smartphone’s touchscreen.

#4. Precision Farming Solutions
One of the hottest trends in the agricultural software marketplace, precision farming encompasses a wide range of tools and computing solutions that work together to provide you with real-time information on the state of your crops. Typically, these systems comprise three separate categories:

  •   Sensors are installed in various areas of your crops to monitor soil conditions, growth rates and other factors that could affect yield
  •   Transmitters carry this information to a centralized data hub
  •   Computing resources then decode this information to provide you with actionable information regarding soil nutrient and moisture levels, variances in growth rates and other data

Software packages and services from companies like AgSense and SST Software can offer remote-control convenience and ease of use for farmers. Though the initial investment may be costly, once mastered, the results derived from precision farming can allow you and your employees to manage your crops more effectively from first planting to final harvest. This can boost your profits and ensure the most practical use of available resources in applying fertilizer and pesticides, promoting efficient water use and ensuring the health and yield of your crops.

#5. Supply Chain Management Software
Once regarded as a simple tracking tool for monitoring vendors and managing payments, supply chain management packages can now provide your farm with support for an extensive array of activities that include the following:

  • Creating expense and profit predictions for more accurate financial planning
  • Comparison of performance and cost for vendors, transportation companies and other suppliers
  • Real-time monitoring for commodities pricing to help you sell at the right time and for the right price

The software packages offered by Infor Supply Chain Management, used by Organic Valley Farms, and Commodity XL for Agriculture offer start-to-finish support for farming operations while optimizing your profitability in the competitive agricultural marketplace.


Some companies offer software-as-a-service (SAAS) options for these computing packages, allowing you to access top-quality computing packages without the learning curve associated with installing, upgrading and maintaining this software on-site. Cloud-based solutions are also becoming increasingly popular in the agricultural field thanks to the convenient access they provide for you and your staff.

 
By upgrading your farming operation with these five key software packages, you can achieve a higher degree of success and profitability now and for the future of your farm.

Sources:
http://www.capterra.com/human-resource-software/
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2492792,00.asp
http://www.capterra.com/fleet-management-software/
http://www.mmh.com/article/top_20_supply_chain_management_software_suppliers_2015

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