2016 is a challenging year for all producers in the agricultural sector. Instability in the local currency and volatile weather patterns, including wide-spread drought, are all factors that place a lot of extra pressure on farming operations. Sound financial management and optimised farming has never been this important.
The key to accurate planning is knowledge and tracking of real-time data. Farmtrack is a GPS tracking system for all farm vehicles that tracks movement and driving habits. It is easily installed and auto-generates in-depth reports that allow farm managers to make money-saving changes to the farm’s way of working.
Data is stored in a cloud account and can be accessed via the internet and protected with a password. It takes the guesswork out of farming and allows farm managers to correct human error that is costly to operations.
And it is no small saving. “For us, it could potentially mean a saving of hundreds of thousands of Rands per year, all without a massive capital investment,” says Karin Cluver, farm manager of Cluver Farms in the Elgin district, who just fit Farmtrack technology to all their vehicles after thoroughly testing the system in trials. “This is no small measure!”
Here is how FarmTrack can impact your business:
– It can significantly lower diesel usage, since reports will point out where tractors are misused and where refill points should optimally be placed to improve diesel usage. The average farm records about R5900/hectare to run a tractor, and R2600/hectare of this can be attributed to diesel, so even a saving as little as 2% will have a huge impact. Reports will also point to drivers exceeding the speed limit, which will in turn save in maintenance costs.
– Keeping close to calibration speed can save thousands in crop spraying costs, an expense that can easily be between roughly R4000 to R 20 000. GPS reports will show if a driver operates above or below calibration speed and the farm manager can then address this behaviour.
– FarmTrack will also point out where rows or sections have been missed in crop spraying. Crops without proper protection is vulnerable to diseases and/or lower yield. According to FarmTrack’s project leader Waldo van der Merwe, they have found that even on farms with dependable drivers, about a quarter miss at least one row per week. Should a row contract a disease, extra money must be spent on pest control which is often more expensive than preventative protection sprays. Chances are also that the same disease will rear its head in the next season. Another risk is that a missed row may be included in a spot check and the incorrect conclusion may be made that the whole orchard or vineyard is riddled with disease, resulting in an unnecessary, expensive spray treatment programme.
– Some farms experience that their drivers lay low until 5pm, then jump to action in order to claim overtime. The cost of labour is one of the biggest on any farm and Farmtrack can expose this behaviour, allowing management to take corrective action. Keeping a tractor running also costs anything between R90 and R270 per hour, which could have been avoided if the running time was spent doing work during normal work hours.
Farmtrack is a real-time money saving tool. “After employing the system for some time,” says Van der Merwe, “one of our clients were able to sell three of the farm’s 18 tractors, since 15 were ample to optimally farm the operation. This results in yet another massive save, not only in capital expenses, but also saving running and maintenance costs of said three vehicles.”
Fitting a Farmtrack-device costs R4 950 with an annual service fee of R4 650, payable monthly.
For more information, please visit www.farmtracksa.com to get the contact details of your nearest agent. Alternatively, please contact the InteliGro (formerly Terason) head office in Wellington on 021 873 6177.