Whitesides Dairy had been looking for a record-keeping program to suit their operation for a few years but were unable to identify a tool that measured up to their standards.
Whitesides Dairy decided to adopt Valley Agronomics' award-winning Platinum Precision Subscription Program, which is delivered on the Agworld Platform.
By utilizing Agworld, Whitesides Dairy have simplified their record keeping process and improved data accuracy. They have found Agworld easy to use and have saved a lot of time capturing farm data. Making data-driven decisions is quicker than ever and the data is more reliable, as it has all been captured using Agworld's structured data.
Crops:Fodder, Corn, Hay
Dairying in Idaho
The Whitesides family started their dairy operation in Rupert, ID in the late seventies. Fast-forward forty years and much has changed: the dairy now milks 6,700 cows and grows their feed on 6,500 acres of adjacent land. The operation is currently managed by the second generation of Whitesides and, depending on the season, Whitesides Dairy employs around 100 people between the dairy and the farming operation.
Farm manager and family member Richard Garner explains the farm structure: “My brother-in law is our CEO, we also have a great CFO, an outstanding veterinarian who is the general manager of the dairy, and another Fam manager with over 30 years experience on our farm. Both of us make decisions for the farm and collaborate with the rest of the team for what is best for the organization as a whole. I grew up on my own family’s small dairy farm and have always been drawn to agriculture; I have been a part of Whitesides Dairy, and the family as well, for over 15 years.”
“In the late 2000s the market changed to where we needed to be able to grow our own feed as opposed to buying it from other people and so, when one of our neighbors was looking at selling his farm, we purchased a large area of land and started to farm ourselves. We now mainly grow corn and hay with some rotation crops where we rent our potato or beet ground out to our neighbors.”
Simplifying the record keeping process
The Whitesides family had been investigating farm management software solutions for a few years, and even tried one out for a while without success, until their Valley Agronomics crop advisor introduced Agworld in 2017. Richard: “Our Valley Ag agronomist showed us what their Platinum Precision Subscription (PPS) entails and the role that Agworld plays in it. We were immediately interested and decided to give Agworld a try. We were very pleased with what the platform offered us and so we have been utilizing it since.”
“When we started to use Agworld, we were mainly looking for a record keeping tool. Because we use most of the manure from our dairy in our cropping operation, as well as some commercial fertilizer, it is important that we keep track of how much nutrition we apply to our fields. We test our manure for nutritional contents and enter it in Agworld as a ‘custom fertilizer’; this allows us to make sure that we do not apply too much of a nutrient that in excess could be detrimental to the crop.”
“We also do a lot of our own insecticide and pesticide applications on the crops we grow and we use Agworld to track the EPA registration numbers with the rates and applications dates. We used to do this with spreadsheets but that became increasingly more labor-intensive. By using Agworld, we have really been able to streamline our record-keeping process and save ourselves a lot of time. No more writing things down and creating complicated spreadsheets; Agworld does it all for us.”
The Whitesides use both the Agworld iPhone and iPad app as well as the web application on the PC, but Richard has a clear favorite: “The app is really user-friendly. It is super easy and convenient for our planning and evaluation purposes. Even when I sit behind my desk, I still often find myself pulling the iPad out of my bag and using it in conjunction with the web application. I tend to build my rotational plans on my iPad and then run the reports on my computer, which works well for me. As far as the Agworld app goes; if you can make a phone call on your phone, you can run the app – it’s that simple.”
“The other part that I really like about using Agworld is consistency. With a spreadsheet, if you misspelled a word and then run a sort and create a report, things will get filtered out of the queries that you were doing. Because of Agworld’s structured data approach, it is a lot easier to stay consistent across the board and it helps eliminate a lot of user errors. It definitely has taken away a lot of my frustration when I need to create reports!”
When he started to use Agworld, Richard was supported by Valley Agronomics, who provided him with training. Valley Agronomics precision ag manager Connor Lankford explains: “We find an hour of in-person training to be very beneficial for our clients to help them get started on the Agworld Platform. After this training, once they start to use Agworld, they often have more questions; they can then either ask our field men when they are out there checking crops, or they can just call the Agworld help desk.” Richard adds to this: “the support has been excellent between Agworld and Valley Ag, and it is really a pretty simple program to figure out – it didn’t take us very long at all to understand and be able to use it.”
Simplifying a cost analysis
When Whitesides adopted the Agworld Platform, they were mainly looking for a record keeping tool. When they realized the analysis and reporting power of Agworld however, they soon started using it too. Richard elaborates: “We weren’t really looking for a costs analysis tool, but once we saw how easy this part of Agworld is, we immediately put our focus on it. After we had used Agworld for a year, we were able to run reports and analyze them.”
“We used to have a couple of different locations for our spreadsheets such as Dropbox and Google Drive, which is really a hassle when you need to update the numbers or find some specific information. You find yourself constantly jumping between windows and spreadsheets for fertilizers, pesticides and operational costs, while still struggling to put all the costs together and create a final tally. Agworld brings this all into one spot and we can just run a report whenever we want to and see where we’re at.”
When it comes to his overall view on using Agworld, Richard concludes with: “A lot of software available is more geared towards high input crops. These crops cost a lot more to grow and their growers can more easily rationalize spending a lot of money on software too. Agworld, although it’s not free obviously, is something that any grower can afford to invest in and let it help them improve their operation. Our main crops would be considered secondary crops by many other growers, but they are cash crops to us. It is nice to have a program that is also affordable to the person that is not farming the high dollar crops but only fodder crops.”
“With Agworld we now have a high-quality platform with an easy to use app that saves us time on record keeping, that has streamlined our processes and that provides us with quality analyses and reports – and all of that at an affordable price. This is why I recommend using Agworld.”
"By using Agworld, we have been able to streamline our record-keeping process and save ourselves a lot of time. No more writing things down and creating complicated spreadsheets; Agworld does it all for us."
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