Five Reasons why Farm Spreadsheets are no Longer Viable
May 23, 2017
By Jessica Zepeda
Making confident, profit-focused farm business decisions in today’s volatile market is not easy. We get it. Farmers have been using Excel spreadsheets for decades, so why would you want to fix what’s not broken? With the complexities that come with farming, dynamic decisions are required. Can you make the best decisions based on completely static data in farm spreadsheets?
Excel makes it difficult to manage all the data on your farm, which can lead to inefficiencies along the way. Your farm business is constantly evolving, with new information flowing in all the time. Isn’t it time to use a tool that is as dynamic as your business?
Due to Excel’s static data, businesses have said goodbye to spreadsheets and hello to cloud business software. Construction companies have adopted software like Procore, the aviation industry has adopted IBM, and the financial industry has adopted Salesforce. The Agriculture space is no different, and many farms have been making strides towards using real-time cloud software. Excel spreadsheets are again becoming obsolete as farmers are adopting new ways to track data. Excel spreadsheets limits farmers from being efficient and evolving their business in five critical ways:
- Time Savings: Many farmers would rather spend more time in the field than in the office looking after cumbersome spreadsheets. Farmers first take notes in the field, and then spend hours doing manual data entry in the office. Granular automates data collection and organization, helping you to focus on making key business decisions and spending time with family. Farmers are limiting themselves to the information they can collect due to the time it takes to manually update multiple Excel spreadsheets.
- Lack of Real-Time Data: Spreadsheets limit your ability to make accurate, real-time decisions. You may be creating a budget every year, but struggle keeping it updated as plans are changed unexpectedly. Granular allows you to track costs at the individual field level and keep track of cost of production. Mistakes such as spraying the wrong chemical in the wrong field are no longer a major problem.
- Poor Communication: Excel makes it difficult for multiple users to update and act on the data being collected. Through Granular’s Mobile App, teams can quickly communicate and coordinate activities while out in the field. There are even turn-by-turn field directions included, so new and seasonal workers don’t need to waste hours each day trying to locate where they need to be.
- No Data Science Integrations: Data only becomes more valuable over time in Granular. Integration of data science allows you to analyze field level data over the span of multiple years. Excel makes it difficult to look at various years’ worth of information that is spread out across numerous sheets. Granular easily presents this information so you can compare year by year and even measure variances in your actual and forecasted numbers.
- Can’t Scale: With Crop Planning, Inputs, Operations, and Financials, you’ll have to separate each aspect of your farm into multiple spreadsheets. Pieced together, this data does not work cohesively, inhibiting your ability to scale. For farmers who are looking to expand their business, they need a data platform that will grow with them, not hold them back.
Spreadsheets have been used for decades, but they are no longer a viable option for large-scale farm operations. Granular incorporates planning, operations, inputs, and financials to reveal your most important insights. In an article by The Progressive Farmer, Danny Klinefelter, suggests making technology decisions “By The Numbers.” While many industries move away from Excel spreadsheets, why should the Agriculture industry not professionalize in the same way?