For years it was Gatekeeper – much maligned, but we were stuck with it. But in the last few years things have changed and we now live in a very congested software world. Each year more software from round the world comes to market. Here are just a few of the entrants over the last 5 years: Xarvio from BASF, Rhiza from Agrii, Hutchinson have Omnia, Plantsystems from Agrovista, Fieldmargin, John Deere and Claas have farm365. Fendt have launched Fendt One, John Deere have also just bought Harvest Profit, a provider of Farm Profitability Software.
This list isn’t exhaustive by any means.
Basically, everyone is developing software to help farmers. What could go wrong? Personally, I’m getting a bit of Deja vu. A bit like in the VHS vs Betamax wars, there will always be a winner. In this case there will be 2-3 winners, but they can’t all be winners. This is where we are going to have to get better at sharing data between systems.
Just like ISOBUS has been great to farmers on farm, we need a data version of ISOBUS so all our software can talk to each other and our data can be moved between them easily. In fact, Farm 365 is an early example of this. It allows multiple different tractors to talk to the same system. It will happen. Then there is the question of which software is the “best” and which one is the best for you? This is where it really does get complicated.
They all do slightly different things and offer different things to the farmer. They all cost different amounts too. We all like free, but free normally comes with a few catches somewhere along the line. This is where we would like to hear from our readers, if you would like to write a farmer focus piece based on farm software, then please do get in touch, some farmer feedback would help bring to clarity to the market. Maybe life wasn’t so bad with Gatekeeper after all.