Manage Recordkeeping Chaos with Digital Work Orders

The Orr family has farmed the same land for more than a century. The current generation grows waxy corn, grass and alfalfa on their 117-year-old farm near Rowley, Iowa. They stay profitable by using farm management software

Jim Orr and Jason Orr, a father/son team, introduced Granular Business on the farm about five years ago. They were searching for a digital tool to send work orders more efficiently, track input and grain inventory, and plan their acres.

The Orrs found a billing error from their retailer and used reports from Granular Business to get it corrected. They estimate they saved up to $10,000 by catching that mistake.
The Orrs found a billing error from their retailer and used reports from Granular Business to get it corrected. They estimate they saved thousands of dollars by catching that mistake.

Track and Manage Daily Farm Work

For Jason, tracking work orders has been key to finding cost savings and streamlining communication between the team and custom applicators. 

Before Granular Business, they used to fill out work orders on paper and put them in the tractor cabs for the driver or applicator. The problem was the paperwork never made its way back to the office for tracking.

Using the work order feature in Granular Business, they now assign, monitor, and complete tasks in the mobile app on any device — including tillage tasks and every application process. Managing work orders digitally means they no longer struggle with tracking paperwork.

“It’s a huge benefit to be able to complete a task in the field and upload it to the cloud for instant record updates,” Jason said. “Getting our records right allows us to fully grasp everything we’re doing on the farm.”

photo of Jason Orr

“I always say that Granular is the first dollar spent on our farm every year. We can make sure we’re using every inch of our land properly and every minute productively.”

Jason Orr,  Orr Farms

Find Cost Savings by Catching Errors

The Orrs estimate they saved thousands of dollars a couple of years ago by catching and correcting a clerical error. They were working with a local retailer during anhydrous ammonia application season, and they were using Granular Business to track work orders and equipment calibrations. When they reviewed their records, they discovered they had been overbilled for a couple of anhydrous tank loads they had not applied.

“We were able to print off the reports and take them to the retailer and say ‘Here’s the deal. We did not get this product,’” Jason said. “Catching that mistake paid for the software that year. I doubt we would have caught and corrected that issue using paper records.”

Jason Orr estimates he saved up to 60 hours this year by having his local Granular Certified Services Agent create variable-rate seeding and fertility scripts instead of doing it himself.
Jason Orr estimates he saved up to 60 hours of time prior to planting this year by having his local Granular Certified Services Agent create variable-rate seeding and fertility prescriptions instead of doing it himself.

Local and Professional Agronomy Services

The agtech on Orr Farms always evolves each season as technology continues to improve. This year they added Granular Agronomy to their digital tool kit for custom variable-rate seeding, fertility and nitrogen prescriptions. It also gives them unlimited access to agronomy expertise from their local, Granular Certified Services Agent, Chris Thurm.

In the past, Jason wrote his own scripts and did all their mapping. This year, he outsourced it to Chris so he could focus more on fieldwork. Jason estimates he saved 40 to 60 hours of time prior to planting. This allowed him and his dad to now manage more of the application process on their own instead of hiring it out.

“I got tremendous peace of mind knowing that Chris is probably doing a better job studying the hybrids plus my soil, fertility and yield maps,” he said. “We discussed his recommendations and made a few modifications. He knows we have to make the final decision. But frankly, now I don’t have to sit in the office and tractor at the same time.”

By adding Granular Agronomy to their digital tool kit this year, the Orrs spent more time on fieldwork. “My biggest goal is to take the agronomy work off their plate,” said Chris Thurm, their Granular CSA. “Hopefully, this lets them better utilize the time in their day.”
The Orrs spent less time in the office this year by adding Granular Agronomy to their digital tool kit. “My biggest goal is to take the agronomy work off their plate,” said Chris Thurm, their Granular CSA. “Hopefully, this lets them better utilize the time in their day.”

Planning for the Next Generation

The Orr family were early adopters of technology. Jason remembers having a computer in the house for business back in the early 1980s. He credits their openness to technology for giving their farm a competitive edge in the marketplace today. 

“With technology, we can make sure we’re using every inch of our land properly and every minute productively,” Jason said. “Granular is the first dollar spent on our farm every year, and I tell that to any farmer who will listen.”

Jim Orr is proud that, with his son and grandson, two more generations are working to keep their century farm going. And with Granular Business, they’re paving the way for a strong future.

“My ancestors used to write notes on scraps of paper that they entered later into a ledger,” recalls Jim. “To stay competitive and succeed at a high level, you need the right digital tools for the job. I’m proud my ancestors kept this farm going for so long — not many businesses last 100 years.”

Orr Farms
Orr Farms

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