Farm Management Minute: Technology is great, isn’t it?

Farm Forum

Did the title of this article make some of you groan in agony? I know there are days where I curse technology, especially when a computer or computer program does not work the way I want it to. Working as an educator for almost thirty years, I have worked with technology as it evolved. Now, I am not a computer guru, but I see the advantages technology has brought to the game.

One advantage technology has brought is computerized record keeping. I remember my mother working on our farm accounts for a couple of days, or more, every month. Now, with computerized records, it takes just a few hours to put in the same information it took her days to record. Then, when it was time to meet with the tax preparer, she would spend hours calculating the numbers for him. Some of you may still be doing this same type of recordkeeping because it is what you know. Learning computerized farm records can be intimidating but, with the right program, it can be accomplished. Part of what we do at the SD Center of Farm/Ranch Management is to assist producers in learning and working with computerized farm accounting. My best days are when someone, who feels they have no computer skills, prints out a report and it has everything for their tax preparer. In a few minutes, they have a report at their fingertips that had previously taken days to compile. It is just like Christmas came early!

A second advantage technology has brought to farm producers is the access to a variety of farm related topics. Need energy values of a feedstuff? Want to see what the basis is on crops at area elevators? Need a spreadsheet for a ration? All of these topics can be found online with a quick search. The S.D. Center of Farm/Ranch Management has some calculators on their site as well. Go to the website, scroll to the bottom of the page and there are crop and livestock calculators to help with management decisions. The calculators that have been developed at this site include 2013 SD averages of yields, income, and expenses. These numbers can be used by a producer that may not have specific data from their operation.

A third advantage of technology is the ability to track field operations from the tractor seat. The field reports that can be generated are good management tools to help make financial decisions. There are very few tractors or implements sold today without some form of technology, so one must learn to use it to the producer’s advantage.

If any producer would like more information on how the S.D. Center of Farm and Ranch Management can help your operation, call 1-800-684-1969, email or check out our website at