An Introduction to Crop Management Software (CMS)
By Agustina Sacerdote, 07.28.2016

Farmers have invested in technology for decades. Auto-steer, variable rate, biotechnology and other innovations were all quickly adopted by farms. But farms have not invested as heavily in Crop Management Software versus other technologies. Why not?

The real reason has little to do with farmers themselves. Until recently, Crop Management Software (CMS) couldn’t deliver significant value to farms because four critical foundational technologies were lacking:

  • Mobile networks to make software available outdoors across the whole farm
  • Smartphones to give everybody on team a powerful, easy-to-use computing devices
  • Broadband internet to allow any computer in office to access cloud applications without installing anything
  • Connected machinery to allow data to be pushed and pulled from the cab, irrigation equipment, etc.

These have finally come together and become reliable enough to support Crop Management Software (CMS). CMS supports team’s daily operations, monitors and optimizes field-level profitability, and manages inventories.

Granular has seen rapid adoption of CMS from farms of all sizes and in all geographies, even at a time when commodity prices are in a down cycle. So what’s so compelling? It essentially comes down to being able to get more done with less, and making better decisions for the farm’s profitability.

But CMS is a significant investment decision, one that requires resources, time, and team buy-in. Most farms use Microsoft Excel today to perform many of these functions, so upgrading to new software that costs thousands per year is a big deal. Successfully adopting CMS also requires the farm team to part with some old habits, to evolve the way they work together, and to believe that their data is very valuable.

Before buying CMS you should evaluate the product and the company that sells it carefully. No CMS product on the market is going to have every single feature you want today, but technology is evolving quickly. You should choose a CMS partner that you believe listens carefully to their customers and is expanding its product very quickly. Here are some of the questions you can ask when evaluating your CMS options:

  • Who owns your company?
  • Do I need an engineering degree to use this?
  • Who’s using this already?
  • How quickly do you update the product?
  • Who’s running the numbers?
  • Who’s available to help me?

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