How Farm Management Software Can Transform Your Operations 

Are you looking for ways to boost productivity on your farm? In today’s fast-paced agricultural industry, efficiency is key to success. That’s where farm management software like Trimble Ag Software (TAS) can make all the difference. With its powerful features, a farm management system can be a game-changer for your operations.

Imagine being able to easily track and manage all aspects of your farm, from inventory and equipment to crop and livestock management. Farm management software provides you with real-time data and analytics, removing the guesswork and allowing you to make informed decisions to optimise your farming processes. Say goodbye to manual record-keeping and embrace the efficiency of a digital solution.

Not only can farm management software streamline your daily operations, but it can also help you optimise your resource allocation and minimise waste. Change can be scary, but by leveraging the power of technology and getting rid of the filing cabinets, you can ensure that every aspect of your farm is running at its optimum level and all records are accurate.

Some of the challenges faced by modern farmers:

Modern farmers face numerous challenges that can hinder productivity and profitability.  

  1. One of the biggest challenges is figuring out how to improve operational efficiency. As farms become larger and more diversified (which causes operations to become more complex) it becomes increasingly difficult to keep track of all the moving parts. Manual record-keeping and outdated systems can lead to errors and inefficiencies, resulting in wasted time and resources. 

We are very lucky to farm in beautiful New Zealand, but we do need to comply with ever-changing regulations.  

2. Farmers must adhere to strict environmental standards, food safety regulations, and labour laws. Staying on top of these requirements can be overwhelming, especially for small-scale farmers who may not have dedicated compliance personnel. 

Additionally, farmers must contend with unpredictable weather patterns, pests, and diseases that can impact crop yields and livestock health. 2023 has been the year of floods, high winds and what’s forecast to be a very dry summer. Managing these risks effectively requires timely and accurate data, which can be difficult to gather and analyse without farm management software. 

Benefits of using a farm management system

  1. Provides farmers with real-time data and analytics, allowing them to make data-driven decisions. By having access to accurate and up-to-date information on inventory levels, equipment usage, crop growth, and livestock health, farmers can optimise their operations and respond quickly to changing conditions.

  2. Automates many routine tasks, saving farmers valuable time and effort. For example, the system can generate work orders for machinery maintenance, track labour hours, and automatically update inventory levels. This automation reduces the risk of errors and ensures that tasks are completed in a timely manner.

  3. Improves communication and collaboration among farm workers. With a centralised platform, everyone can access and update relevant information, eliminating the need for paper-based records and manual data entry. This streamlined communication enhances efficiency and reduces the likelihood of miscommunication or duplication of efforts.

Key features of farm management software

Trimble Ag Software offer a range of operational, record-keeping and agronomic features to help your team focus on what’s most important – getting the work done correctly and efficiently.

  1. Increased operational efficiency – Trimble’s platform empowers farmers to seize control of daily resource and task planning, enabling proactive scheduling. The work orders feature streamlines workflows, facilitating easy task scheduling, assignment to team members, and real-time progress monitoring. It aids in assessing priorities, ensuring timely and accurate project execution, and notifies you of any violations to weather restrictions. Trimble’s Standard and Display Work Orders allow pre-cab definition of Precision-IQ display tasks, with wireless data transmission for seamless tracking.

  2. Easier data sharing between displays –Share resources across your fleet wirelessly via AutoSync – AutoSync automatically syncs guidance lines, field names, boundaries, materials, implements, vehicles, and operator information across all connected devices in your farm operation — including Trimble® TMX-2050™ and GFX-750™ displays, as well as the Trimble Ag Software that you can access from any computer or mobile device. Say goodbye to those pesky USB sticks.

  3. Streamlined inventory management – allows farmers to keep track of their supplies, equipment, and other assets. The system can automatically update inventory levels as items are used or replenished, ensuring that farmers always have a clear view of their stock.

  4. Annual farm map & crop rotation tracking – Trimble Ag Software’s robust farm crop rotation planning tool lets you split each field into multiple crops which makes record-keeping per crop very easy.

  5. Efficient crop and land management – enables farmers to monitor the health and growth of their crops. This includes tracking planting and harvesting schedules, monitoring soil conditions, managing daily tasks, crop health satellite imagery, managing irrigation, and production data. By having access to this information in real-time, farmers can take proactive measures to prevent disease outbreaks, optimise crop yields, and improve animal welfare.

  6. Financial management capabilities – such as budgeting and, cost tracking. This helps farmers keep track of their expenses and revenue, enabling them to make informed financial decisions and ensure the profitability of their operations.

  7. Nutrient Management – being able to create and follow your unique nutrient management plan and provide the application evidence in the form of records and proof of placement for nutrients.

Selecting the right farm management software for your operation 

Choosing the right farm management software is crucial to maximising its benefits. When selecting software, it’s important to consider: 

  • Your specific needs and goals. Start by identifying the key challenges and pain points in your operation and look for software that addresses those issues. 

  • Compatibility with your existing fleet of machinery to be able to process various task data formats.
  • If the system will work with precision farming tools such as variable rate application maps, being able to import drone imagery, no extra cost satellite imagery, being able to import soil test results, EM survey results, crop, crop scouting & recommendations, Crop storage and inventory management, growers crop contract management, chemicals and fertiliser inventory tracking. 

  • Direct or indirect API – How the system will integrate with other providers such as MyBallance, Ravensdown, JohDeere Operations Center, NH Myplm, CaseIH AFS, AGCO VarioDoc, AgriRouter, RavenSlingshot, Steyr. The Precision Farmingconnection with TAS streamlines fertiliser and spray application for easier reporting, compliance and decision making. This integration connects with MyBallance and Hawkeye for enhanced efficiency. 

  • Consider the scalability of the system, as your farm may grow and evolve over time. Ensure that the software can accommodate your current needs and has the flexibility to adapt to future changes. 

  • Evaluate the user interface and ease of use, as software that is difficult to navigate or understand will likely lead to frustration and inefficiency. Look for software that offers a clean and intuitive interface, with clear instructions and user-friendly features. 

  • Consider the accessibility through various channels, including online web or cloud-based platforms, as well as Android and iOS applications. 

Implementing a farm management system 

Implementing farm management software requires careful planning and preparation. Start by identifying the specific goals and objectives you want to achieve with the system. This will help guide the implementation process and ensure that the system is configured to meet your needs. We offer various training & setup packages to suit each customer’s unique needs.  

Next, gather all relevant data and information that will be transferred to the system. This includes inventory records, equipment maintenance schedules, crop and livestock data, financial records, and any other information that is currently stored manually or in other systems. 

Before going live with the system, it’s important to ensure that all trainers or key users at the organisation are trained on how to use it effectively. This may involve conducting training sessions, providing instructional materials, or offering one-on-one support. The goal is to ensure that everyone is comfortable using the system and understands its benefits. 

In the implementation of TAS, our strategy involves breaking it down into smaller components, addressing each part individually. This method enables us to concentrate on the distinct features and advantages of each segment, facilitating the identification and resolution of potential issues before progressing to the next feature. 

Training and support for using farm management software. 

Using farm management software effectively requires ongoing training and support. As new features and updates are introduced, it’s important to keep farm workers informed and provide them with the necessary training to utilise these enhancements. 

The software provider should offer comprehensive training resources, such as video tutorials, user manuals, and online support forums. Additionally, they should have a dedicated support team available to address any issues or questions that may arise. 

Regular communication with the software provider is essential to ensure that you are maximising the value of the system. They can provide guidance on best practices, offer troubleshooting assistance, and help you take advantage of new features and capabilities. 

We leverage the power of technology to improve our clients’ productivity and efficiency in many ways, every day. With TeamViewer and Remote Support, we can provide remote assistance to clients, troubleshoot issues, and help them get the most out of the technology. Additionally, Trimble’s YouTube channel, Resource Centre, dedicated learning platform and user manuals offer a wealth of information and resources that can help farmers learn more about the technology and its best practices. It’s time to transform your farm with Trimble Ag Software. 

Trimble Ag Software is here to support your precision farming journey. Discover the core principles of precision agriculture with the 5 Rs:

  • Right Input,
  • Right Amount,
  • Right Place,
  • Right Time, and
  • Right Manner.

Choose a system that not only fits your current needs but also grows with you over time. With its reliable record-keeping features, Trimble Ag Software helps you keep track of the true cost of operations for your organisation. It’s a practical choice to enhance your precision farming experience.  

Transforming Farm Data Management: Uniting Farmers, Suppliers, and Systems for Efficiency and Peace of Mind 

Farmer in a field holding a laptop whilst looking at data in Trimble Ag Software

In the modern era of farming, farm data management has become a daunting task. As farms rely on multiple suppliers and databases to fulfill compliance and audit demands, farmers find themselves tirelessly searching for scattered information. However, there is hope on the horizon.

Gone are the endless hours wasted on syncing data across various platforms and programs. Every minute spent grappling with disparate systems is a minute stolen away from attending to the farm or spending quality time with loved ones. Recognising this pressing issue, Vantage New Zealand has forged an alliance with industry leaders Trimble Agriculture and Precision Farming to introduce a revolutionary solution.

Trimble, connected by Precision Farming, is a remarkable single screen solution that will transform your farm and business. The software connects Trimble Ag Software and Trimble guidance solutions with Precision Farming, opening the door to connections with MyBallance and HawkEye.

How will this connection help farmers in New Zealand?

This groundbreaking connection, powered by the Trimble Ag Software API, brings a host of benefits that will revolutionise the way farmers and contractors operate and manage their farms.

  • Nitrogen Limit Management – Stay on top of nitrogen regulations by tracking your usage across multiple suppliers and proof of application against the 190 N-Cap limit.
  • Digital Farm Maps – Digitise your farm map including paddock identification, exclusion zones and farm data management blocks.
  • Proof of Application – Accurately manage and record your proof of application of self-spreading.
  • Order Management – Manage your spray and fertiliser applications through the Precision Farming portal for a simple, direct, and digitised workflows
  • Environmental Data – Link your environmental data sources to get a consolidated visual representation of selected on-farm activities.

So how does the connection work?

At the core of this connection lies the ability to seamlessly digitise Trimble vehicle guidance products and automate proof of application. With just a few clicks, farmers can harness world-leading technology to enhance their operational efficiency and eliminate manual

  1. The process begins with the placement of an electronic spreading or spraying order on the farm’s digital map using platforms like HawkEye, MyBallance, or Precision Farming.
  2. Once the order is received, it is dispatched through the Precision Farming platform and sent to TAS (Trimble Ag Software) and the Trimble display in the vehicle.
  3. Finally, proof of application is recorded and returned to the respective platforms, including Precision Farming, Trimble Ag Software, HawkEye, or MyBallance.
Precision Farming Infographic

The automation of proof of application ensures accurate and reliable documentation with minimal effort, freeing up valuable time and resources for farmers to focus on other critical tasks.

Enhanced farm data management and analysis capabilities offer a valuable tool for farmers to improve their decision-making processes. With precise data at their fingertips, they can optimise their operations, reduce costs, and improve environmental sustainability.

Turning compliance headaches into opportunities with Trimble and Precision Farming  

In addition to the benefits highlighted above, this advanced connection also presents an immense opportunity for farmers in New Zealand to revolutionise their fertiliser application plans for upcoming seasons and accurately forecast the associated costs of crop cultivation and paddock management.  

In an era where production costs and profitability are constantly under pressure, harnessing the power of Trimble Ag Software and the API connection with Precision Farming empowers farmers to make informed and timely decisions for their farms, free from the complexities of multiple farm software platforms. 

Soil nutrition and fertiliser are vital factors in soil preparation, providing essential nutrients for crops throughout the growing season. By utilising the Trimble and Precision Farming connection, farmers can now streamline and digitise their entire fertiliser application workflow. From managing orders to proof of application, this innovative solution simplifies the process and enhances efficiency, enabling farmers to optimise their operations and maximise productivity. 

The ever-evolving regulations in New Zealand underscore the importance of centralised data for compliance and reporting purposes. Farmers feel like they have a brick wall in front of them. The connection enables farmers to consolidate their data sources, ensuring easy access and accurate record-keeping. This integrated system facilitates compliance, reduces errors, and simplifies reporting procedures in a visual way, eliminating the time wasted searching through multiple systems for data.  

The connection between Trimble Agriculture and Precision Farming is more than just a software integration—it is a catalyst for transformative change in the farming industry, revolutionising traditional agricultural practices giving farmers more time back for doing what they are best at – feeding New Zealand and the world. 

Discover how you can leverage the software you may already have and Trimble, connected by Precision Farming to enhance your farm or operations. Visit our Precision Farming page for more information. 

GFX-1060 and GFX-1260: The Latest In-Cab Display Technology

As New Zealand’s agricultural sector faces multiple challenges, from environmental regulations to labour shortages and extreme weather events, it is crucial to prioritise the adoption of new technologies that can help maintain productivity and efficiency on Kiwi farms.

Vantage NZ recognises the importance of investing in cutting-edge technology to support farmers in meeting these challenges head-on. By embracing the latest advancements in precision agriculture, the industry can mitigate some of the challenges it is facing and secure a sustainable future for New Zealand farming.

Trimble Agriculture’s GFX-1060 and GFX-1260 displays have recently been launched in New Zealand. These displays are built with simplicity, reliability, flexibility, and scalability in mind, offering farmers and agriculture businesses the opportunity to maximise efficiency and return on investment.

The GFX-1260 display is the latest flagship display from Trimble Agriculture, with a 12-inch (30.5 cm) Android-based interface that allows for complete control and execution of all in-field work through the Precision-IQ field application interface.

The GFX-1060 display offers a slightly smaller 10-inch (25.6 cm) Android-based screen that is also equipped with the Precision-IQ interface, making it a great option for controlling and executing in-field work.

How can a new display help me?

  1. Precision Agriculture: These displays offer GPS guidance and auto-steering, which allows farmers to plant crops and apply inputs with greater accuracy. This can help reduce waste, increase yields, and improve profitability.
  2. Data Management: The displays allow farmers to collect and analyse data about their fields and crops, such as yield maps, topography, fuel usage and more. This information can be used to make more informed decisions about planting, fertilising, and harvesting.
  3. Connectivity: The displays can be integrated with other precision agriculture technologies, such as sensors and variable rate controllers. This can help farmers automate tasks and improve efficiency.
  4. Compliance: The displays can help farmers comply with environmental regulations and standards, such as those related to water quality and nutrient management.
  5. Ease of use: The displays have a user-friendly interface and can be customised to suit the farmer’s specific needs. This makes it easier for farmers to navigate the system and access the information they need.

One of the key advantages of these displays is their ease of use. With a short learning curve, even newer operators can quickly and reliably manage a wide range of operational tasks. Additionally, these displays are highly compatible and transferable between multiple vehicles, making them an ideal choice for farmers who need to share equipment between different operations.

Effortlessly sharing data across the operation is also made possible with these displays, making it easy to track progress and provide proof of placement from field to office. And with modular technology designed to grow as needs change, these displays are equipped to handle future functionality as it becomes available.

Vantage NZ customer Robert Crafer from Precision Slurry in Reporoa has recently upgraded to the GFX-1060 display with a NAV 900 receiver, Centrepoint RTX accuracy and CAN steering in a new Claas Xerion 4200.

The Trimble 1060 display has impressed Robert with its user-friendly interface and seamless connectivity to a wide range of implements, such as his 27000-litre slurry tank. Not only does it offer great visual clarity, but it also provides audible notifications for any operational issues that require attention.

The display has proved invaluable in recording the precise placement of effluent, simplifying operations for other drivers, and ensuring accuracy. With the added option of automatically controlling sections, the Trimble 1060 display is set to further increase efficiency and accuracy for Robert and his team.

Special Offer

We are proud to bring the latest displays to the marketplace to ensure NZ farmers can upgrade to the latest technology at affordable rates. They are currently offering up to $8000 off the new Display Bundle (GFX-1060 or GFX-1260 with NAV-900 and Centrepoint RTX) when you trade in selected Trimble and non-Trimble equipment before 15 September 2023. *

Coupled with finance options available until 30 June with interest rates as low as 0% over 12 months*, purchasing the technology your farm needs now, while conserving your working capital with fixed loan repayments to suit your cash flow has never been so easy.

Visit our promos page for more information on the special offers above. 

*Terms and conditions apply. 

Trimble Agriculture, Precision Farming & Vantage NZ Join Forces to Revolutionise Farming Practices in New Zealand 

The new Trimble Agriculture and Precision Farming connection streamlines fertiliser and spray application for easier reporting, compliance and decision making.

Vantage New Zealand and Precision Farming, leading providers of smart agricultural technology, have launched at Fieldays a ground-breaking connection with Trimble Agriculture, a global leader in advanced positioning solutions, aimed at transforming farming practices for Kiwi farmers. 

The connection between Trimble Agriculture’s vehicle guidance products (via Trimble Ag Software’s API) and Precision Farming’s software platform, introduces a seamless connection revolutionising the way farmers and rural contractors digitise and automate fertiliser and spray application processes, inventory management, and record keeping.

This ground-breaking partnership is brought to farmers by Vantage New Zealand, which is the exclusive distributor of Trimble Agriculture products in New Zealand. Vantage NZ aims to empower farmers across the country by providing them with cutting-edge technology and expert knowledge to optimise their agricultural operations. 

Vantage NZ Co-founder Jemma Mulvihill says the collaboration supports the company’s goal of transforming farming practices across the country and providing farmers with enhanced options and greater efficiency.  

“We take immense pride in revolutionising the agricultural landscape in New Zealand. Harnessing the power of Trimble Agriculture solutions through the Trimble Ag Software API. This partnership will help farmers and contractors streamline their workflow, improve reporting accuracy, and maximise the use of both new and existing Trimble Agriculture equipment. 

“With Trimble Ag Software now connected by Precision Farming, farmers and contractors can leverage world-leading technology and enhance operational efficiency. Manual steps will be eliminated, and proof of application will be automated. The result will be more accurate and reliable application records for compliance reporting and decision making with minimal effort.” 

Farmers utilising Trimble Agriculture’s vehicle guidance products will now have the advantage of digital reporting for self-spreading, gaining real-time insights; and contractors will be able to digitise their workflow and gain a work-in-progress view for fleet management. With enhanced data management and analysis capabilities, farmers can make more informed decisions and optimise their spreading and spraying practices, ultimately improving productivity and reducing costs. 

“With a focus on simplicity, efficiency, and connectivity, this software integration between Trimble Ag Software and Precision Farming paves the way for a new era of farming in New Zealand,” says Jemma Mulvihill.  

“It will empower farmers to save time, reduce costs, and improve environmental sustainability.” 

Precision Farming’s Chief Operating Officer, Chloe Walker, says its partnership with Trimble Ag Software builds on the company’s efforts to help farmers easily manage their environmental data using smart technology and common sense. 

“Farming today relies heavily on data and there is an app or online platform for just about everything. It can be confusing and time-consuming. 

“Precision Farming’s world-class technology simplifies things by enabling different systems to work together and talk to each other. This means data from Trimble Agriculture enabled vehicles can now be automatically transferred to farmers’ Hawkeye or My Ballance accounts or spread/spray diary within Precision Farming. 

“Trimble Agriculture’s integration with Precision Farming will give farmers peace of mind knowing exactly what has been spread where and when. It also gives contractors a wider range of vehicle guidance technologies to choose from. 

“It will also improve the accuracy of variable rate spreading. This can help farmers apply their fertiliser in a way that keeps costs down, looks after the environment better and keep on top of their nitrogen application compliance.” 

For more information about Vantage NZ and Precision Farming, please visit their websites at and  


Level-up your positioning with Trimble and Vantage NZ

Precision agriculture has been revolutionising farming practices by improving crop yields and reducing costs in Aotearoa. One of the key components of precision agriculture is accurate positioning data. This enables farmers to optimise planting, fertilising, and harvesting and having the right gear makes a world of difference.

The Sierra RV55 modem, coupled with a 12-month subscription to Trimble VRS Now™ correction services, provides a powerful and reliable solution for farmers who need to stay connected and improve the accuracy of their positioning data.

The bundle provides:

  1. Improved accuracy: Get 2.5cm accuracy anywhere, anytime.
  2. Increased productivity: ensuring equipment operates at maximum efficiency, reducing time spent on tasks, and increasing overall productivity.
  3. Reduced costs: By having accurate positioning data, farmers can apply inputs only where needed, reducing waste and costs.
  4. Reliable connectivity: Switch smoothly between cellular and satellite corrections. The Sierra RV55 modem is designed to work in harsh environments and provides reliable connectivity. This ensures farmers stay connected to their equipment and data in the field.
  5. Easy to use: The Sierra RV55 modem comes with a simple look and feel that allows farmers to configure the device and monitor connectivity and data usage. This makes it easy to install and use, even for those who are not tech savvy.

One of the key features of the Sierra RV55 modem is its support for Trimble VRS Now™ correction services. Trimble VRS Now™ with the premium XFill backup correction source is a subscription-based service that provides real-time kinematic (RTK) corrections to improve GNSS positioning data accuracy.

A 12-month subscription to Trimble VRS Now™ correction services provides accurate and reliable positioning data even in challenging environments. With accurate positioning data, farmers can ensure that their equipment operates at maximum efficiency, reducing waste, increasing productivity and providing proof of placement.

Remote technical support and in-cab Wi-Fi are also included providing a seamless connection between the field and the office (GFX Displays only).

Special Offer

Get 25% off when you trade-in your RTK radio for Trimble’s VRSNow correction service and the Sierra Wireless RV55 Modem before 30 June 2023. Plus, get a FREE 1-year Trimble Ag Software Farmer Core subscription and Display Connection (installation is additional). T&C’s apply.

Visit our Promotions page for more information or talk to our friendly team today about how this can help you to level up your farming.

Yield maps unlock further potential

Yield maps are one of the most powerful – and under-utlised – tools for decision making on an arable farm.


Yield maps are a record of how your crops performed under that season’s constraints, taking into account nutrient variability, soil moisture variability, application variability and much more. The final result is that often yield varies more than we care to admit and we quicky remember the good parts of a paddock and forget the poor parts.


Farmers making the most of their yield data insights annually are fine tuning base fertiliser applications through the use of variable rate, identifying zones of productivity potential or risk to monitor throughout the season and really enhancing not only their final yield across a paddock but also their profitability. Profit mapping is uniquely available to arable farmers and it proves a fast way to identify areas of a farm or crop rotation that need improvement. It also allows critical, justified decision making to take place based on the dollars and cents.


As the harvest season commences, it’s important to ensure that you’re capturing all your yield information, even if you have no intention of acting on the information this season. ultiple years’ worth of data is far more useful than one year of data.


To find out more on how to ensure your yield data is being captured correctly, to save data for your future use for you or to book in your yield mapping requirements for this season, give the expert team at Vantage NZ a call on 0800 482 682 or visit


Article published in: Guardian Farming, February 2021

Harvest 2020/21 is nearly upon us!

Do you have yield mapping capabilities? Are you storing your data in a secure location? If your combine harvester is capable of yield mapping, do you use it? Yield map data is a powerful tool for making decisions on your farm. It is a record of how your crops reacted and performed under that season’s constraints. Constraints and variation may be apparent in your crops nutrient levels or application methods, or available water in the profile at critical times in the plant’s life cycle, and in most cases a combination of all the above, and more! The final result is that often yield varies more than we care to admit and we quickly remember the good parts of a paddock and forget the poor parts.

Your yield data is a map of how well the crop has performed under that season’s conditions and how much variability there is in the soil profile and nutrient levels within a paddock. It provides us with a ‘warts and all’ view of paddock performance so that we can then further dissect what’s worked well and what hasn’t and make a plan for the coming years, all based around dollars and cents. Many arable farmers have paid for the technology but don’t harness the power of the information that it provides. Vantage NZ is here to help with this.

One thing that isn’t stressed enough to growers with yield monitors is that they should capture the data regardless of whether they can use it at present or not. Asultiple years’ worth of data is far more useful than one year of data. The more years’ worth of data you have lessens the influence of a single seasons weather pattern or any out of the ordinary extremes. For example, in a wet year, the lighter freer draining soils may be preferable for a higher yield and vice versa in a dry season. This process of compiling several years of data is called normalisation. Data is put into a relative scale and is compared across the years or types of seasons as required. Once data is normalised, then we can identify common zones or production areas. These zones can be marked for future management decisions.

Processing or “cleaning” the data is the key to successfully utilising the captured data. Raw yield points have a large number of errors and “noise” that can significantly impact the results. With these noisy bits removed and tidied up the data becomes more representative of the paddock. Some of the factors that impact on the data accuracy are cut width, flow delay and travel distance errors.

Yield data can also be useful for identifying problems during the actual harvest of the crop. In one example, a grower saw the results of him harvesting grass seed in the hottest part of the day. He was able to spot the mistake as recorded yield dropped in the swaths that he completed in the hottest temperatures. Ultimately the yield information informed him that the decision to continue harvesting in the heat had cost him.

Making useful yield maps – the essential information


  • ‘Rubbish in equals rubbish out’ – you only get one opportunity to collect this data so ‘do it once and do it right.’
  • Start the season with an empty data card – save a copy of all previous data to your computer and external hard drive then ‘clean’ the card. If you need help, please call your local precision ag expert to help
  • Naming – use the same naming for the same paddock each year as this makes finding your data easier at the end of the season
  • Check the flow and moisture sensors – if these are not working properly then everything that follows may be a waste of time
  • Calibration – at the start of harvesting each grain type calibrate the flow sensor
  • Operation setup – make sure the cutter bar width is correct, and the flow delay is as accurate as possible
  • Card check and backup – confirm data is being logged by importing it into your mapping software or sending it to your local precision ag expert once you start for the season, not at the end of this season! Backup the data as a raw format throughout the harvest season also.
  • If you collect the data as accurately as possible in the first place, then post-processing of the data to make it a useful resource is much simpler takes less time and costs less!

Yield data is the final measure of a season’s work. Yield data allows for insights into different management practices and the old adage “what gets measured gets managed” comes to mind. 

Have a good harvest!



Article published in: Canterbury Farming, December 2020

Variable-rate approach to fodder crops

During crop establishment and the growing season soil variability is a key driver to crop performance. This is true for both arable and fodder crops.

Lighter soils have lower water-holding capacities, and they warm up faster in the spring, which promotes earlier plant growth. Heavier soils with higher water-holding capacity take a bit longer to ‘get out of bed’ in the spring because of their lower soil temperatures.

If you can map soil variability, it gives the ability to do variable-rate seeding. On some soil types and with some crops, this can be a great way to set the crop up in a timely fashion to maximise performance throughout the season.

Typically, lower seeding rates are used in areas with lighter soils and higher rates in areas with heavier soils.

Sometimes the rates might only vary by +/- 10 percent of the originally intended seeding rate. However, it still gives the crop a greater ability to grow well with less competition for water and nutrients, particularly in lighter soil areas.

To achieve variable rate seedling and the variable rate application of subsequent inputs, you need a solid base of information in order to make the right decisions. And, of course, you need the right technology to achieve it.

Depending on the nature of the farm and the crops it supports, the information that underpins variable rate farming can range from electro-magnetic (EM) soil surveying, to grid or zonal soil sampling, to drone or satellite imagery.

EM surveying is used to map soil variability and thus, productivity potential. EM mapping has to be done when soils are at field capacity, so it is typically done over autumn, winter and spring.

The cost of EM surveying starts at $70/ha. While it is an expense, an EM survey provides information that you can use for many years. It underpins lots of future variable rate decisions, so it is a sound investment.

Soil sampling can provide another layer of information that can be used for precision nutrient management and other variable rate applications.

Precision nutrient management gives growers the ability to apply nutrients only where they are needed to optimise crop production, so it is a great way to save money and ensure that you are farming in an environmentally sustainable way. This nutrient information is used for variable rate base fertiliser and additional fertiliser applications during the growing season.

Depending on the soil sampling strategy (grid vs zonal sampling), costs can vary from $60/ha to just $200 for an entire paddock.

Drone or satellite imagery is best used for variable rate applications during the season. It allows you to vary applications depending on how the crop is performing in real-time so that you can deal with any issues before it is too late.

Satellite imagery is fairly cheap and is done without a field visit. This speeds up the turn-around time and reduces the cost for the grower.

Both options have their merits, and it depends on the issue you are addressing as to which will best give the desired outcome. Costs for drone imagery start from $4/ha and satellite from $400 per farm per year. GST exclusive.

At crop establishment, along with getting the right seeding rate for different areas, it is also important to consider the need for different nutrient levels across the paddock rather than take a blanket approach with a single rate.

Soil variability or crop history can mean that previous harvests have removed different amounts of nutrients from different areas of the paddock. This should be addressed to achieve maximise crop growth.

Variable-rate base fertiliser is a good way to start. This is linked to productivity potential, and once again, this can be determined by soil zones or grid soil sampling.

Once you have taken the initial steps needed to maximise the crop’s performance, the next step is to be proactive with crop management throughout the season. You can do this by using variable rate inputs of nitrogen, herbicides and insecticides.

Up-to-date crop imagery from a drone, satellite or crop sensors allows growers to make accurate management decisions, which could include variable rate applications to look after the crop.

We all know that seasonal weather changes can affect our crops during the season and to maximise the crop and minimise the cost of inputs we need to be able to apply only what is needed, where it is needed and when it is needed.

Variable-rate fungicide is great, particularly later in the growing season. Based on previous crop growth and weather events as well as weather forecasts fungicide can be applied at higher rates to areas with denser crop growth.

They are typically more at risk to disease pressure than areas of the crop that are less dense. Savings here can be quite considerable, based on the chemical being applied.

Critical to the success of using variable rate applications is the technology that can achieve it and technical support to pull it all together.

In addition to soil mapping and crop monitoring, this includes guidance and control systems that can recognise where different zones in a paddock are and seed drills, spreaders and sprayers that can work at variable rates.

Vantage NZ offers a robust range of Trimble guidance and control products that support variable-rate farming. They include the GFX-750 display system and Field-IQ crop input control system, and much more.

The Vantage NZ team also has the knowledge and experience to pull this technology together for you. They have a long history not only supplying and supporting these products in the New Zealand market but also using them on the farm.

For more information on variable rate crop management call Vantage NZ on 0800 482 682 or email

Precision solutions for precision block management

Vantage NZ is New Zealand’s leading precision agriculture expert providing growers all over New Zealand with precision agriculture products, services and expertise for the entire block.

At the root of it, precision agriculture and the technology behind it allows growers to easily record and collect detailed information across their block at a spatial level. GPS enabled tractors, spatial farm maps and soil maps, GPS-recorded soil nutrient test and much more all further enhance the understanding of why crops are performing like they are. Precision ag gives growers the confidence to tweak decision making at a spatial level to ensure all areas of the block are set up for maximum success.

Understanding your block from the ground up is integral to successful crop growth. EM (electro-magnetic) soil surveying has long been used as a precise method of understanding soil variability across a block and the effects it may have on crop growth and performance. How do I manage my light soil areas differently to my heavier soil areas? Are there pans across the block? These are all questions to be investigating particularly at the block planning phase, but equally in an established block. EM Surveying allows accurate identification of these differences so different decisions can be made in other areas of the block. For example, irrigation design might be matched to soil type variability or variety planting planned differently.  

While understanding your soil is critical, so is soil moisture. Multi-depth capacitance-based soil moisture probes such as the AquaCheck allow detailed insight into soil moisture levels the whole way down the root zone, making irrigation management a breeze with accurate information, including soil temperature right at your fingertips.

With new nitrogen regulations coming into effect, it’s now even more important to ensure that inputs are recorded and fine-tuned as much as possible while ensuring optimised productivity and profitability within this regulated environment. Simplifying record-keeping through the use of integrated GPS displays and easy-to-use software apps such as Trimble Ag Software now take the hassle out of it all. Trimble Farmer Core and Farmer Pro offer solutions from basic record keeping through to full work-order planning and crop scouting.

Having identified all this variability and having these maps is all good and well, but you still need the hardware to control the application, and that’s where the Trimble display range can help. From the entry-level GFX-350 right up to the TMX-2050 there’s a solution for whatever your needs are be it basic guidance, section control, steering or much more. Trimble is currently offering a trade-up program for old displays whether they’re Trimble or not so if you’re interested in upgrading get in touch with the Vantage NZ team today to find out if you qualify.

Vantage NZ is your one-stop-shop for all your precision ag needs. To find out more about how precision ag could help your farming business call 0800 482 682, or contact us


Article featured in Orchardist November 2020