Reed Court Farms, Tonbridge, Kent is owned by Jane and Jonathan Tipples and amounts to 650 acres, of which 450 are arable; wheat and rape. The rest is mainly permanent pasture which is not grazed but is in various environmental schemes. The Tipples’ also do contract spraying, cultivations and combining on about 70 acres.
The Tipples’ employ one full time person who does all the spraying, fertilizing and slug pelleting. During the harvest and planting season he is helped by a self-employed contract worker with combining, cultivations and drilling. Jonathan runs the grain store in harvest and, with the help of their agronomist, makes decisions about sprays, fertilizers etc. Jane does all the office work including the accounts using Farmplan’s Business Manager; record keeping of stock, applications and cultivations are done with Gatekeeper cropping software which is also supplied by Farmplan.
Gatekeeper can help you to manage field, crop and stock records. You can use it to generate reports and to demonstrate meeting legal, cross compliance and supply chain requirements.
Jane says “I can check stock levels and put an order into the system while the agronomist is still here. This double checks the agronomist’s figures. In the past Jonathan and the agronomist made the decisions on sprays etc and they would forget to mention it to me. This makes sure I am kept in the loop”.
Gatekeeper software can be used to monitor pesticide activity and traceability, to plan for future seasons, monitor margins, review and compare input costs from different suppliers and look at trends over a number of years.
Jane explains, “the work planning module ensures that all records are kept accurately and the spray operator can record everything as he goes along. It also gives the total needed for each spray and on a couple of occasions this has flagged up an error on an area being sprayed which is great, we were then able to investigate the reason”.
The software checks for legal applications using the comprehensive Sentinel Active database. You can generate nutrient management plans and recommendations utilizing the integral PLANET database to support ELS and NVZ recording.
Gatekeeper can assist with RPA forms and the requirements of Farm Assurance because it stores supply chain and pesticide usage information in one central, easy accessible place.
“Closing stock periods are very useful enabling small discrepancies to be dealt with without having to adjust the spray rate. It is so much easier to keep store records up to date and accurate than before”, claims Jane.
Gatekeeper can be used by farmers, agronomists, advisors and consultants. Data can be easily exchanged between these groups.
Jane concludes “Whilst Gatekeeper has not made a difference to the way in which we grow or market cereals, I do feel more in control of what’s happening on the farm and I am able to keep Jonathan informed when he is away. Finally of course, it keeps all records needed for assurance easily accessible, including active ingredients through the link to Sentinel.”