Learn how Toustone enhanced Lawson Grains farm performance with Decision Intelligence.
About Lawson Grains
Lawson Grains is Australia’s leading corporate grain farmer. They operate 10 aggregated properties throughout NSW and WA. Farming over 90,000 arable hectares in some of the most productive districts, Lawson Grains uses the latest technologies and innovations to manage their farms. Balancing business with societal responsibilities, Lawson Grains defines what it means to be a corporate farmer.
What value does Toustone hold for Agriculture?
“Toustone is well setup to help out other farmers. They have got an enormous knowledge set around John Deere data, Farm Management systems, and how that ties into everyday business operations tools and software like Xero and Zahara.”Mat WellBusiness Systems Analyst at Lawson Grains
Like many Agribusinesses, Lawson Grains utilises many different reporting software and devices to manage their farms. This enables Lawson Grains to create an overview of their operations in what was a highly manual and labour intensive reporting process. This data was also siloed across different data sources with no relationships and correlation being identified and exploited for their value. This is where the challenge lies, how to manage these large volumes of data and pull effective insight in a timely manner.
Prior to working with Toustone, three of the key stand-alone applications Lawson Grains used to manage their business processes with the aim of improving farm productivity and efficiency were:
- Granular: A farm management software that captures production costs, harvest information and overall farm health. Data is captured from each of their 10 properties.
- My John Deere: Farm machinery that tracks performance but was being manually extracted and stored in Excel spreadsheets. Data such as fuel usage, idle time, machine speed & wheel slippage are critical to managing machinery efficiencies and reducing costs. Also, data was lost after the machinery was sold, so any analysis was limited.
- Financial software such as Xero and Zahara (Purchase Order and Spend Approvals): Complex financial data including payroll, budgets, accounts, invoices and historical transactions were manually extracted from multiple platforms. Their large range of inventory and metrics made it time-consuming and difficult to extract accurate information.
Ideally, farm management data from Granular should be connected to both machinery performance and financial data for a complete overview of the Agribusiness. Doing this will allow for effective management decision making by removing the manual process out of the equation. This is where Toustone steps in.
With siloed data across Lawson Grains operations hindering efficient decision making, Toustone needed to improve their data connectivity by integrating and automating their operational reporting software (Granular, John Deere and Financial) into a central location with custom reports created to meet user needs. In doing so, this removed the highly manual reporting process and replaced it with automated, custom reporting that displays their operations in a timely and efficient manner.
The process involved copying information from a digital display into Lawson Grains internal processes. This allowed the financial data to be connected to the Granular data, enabling Lawson Grains to automate the budget process and improve their inventory management.
Next, Toustone automated the collection of data for John Deere machinery and built automated reports for Lawson Grains with this machinery data. This allowed the business to benchmark farms, as well as save considerable time on reporting, things such as daily progress reports for significant tasks like seeding and harvest.
Finally, Toustone has brought data from Zahara into the data warehouse, and have automated data entry into Conservis (which has replaced Granular). This has generated labour savings on farm, removing double entry of data for chemical & fertiliser inputs and has made the month end reconciliation process more efficient. Reporting on the data from Zahara will also bring fresh insights, and allow a deeper analysis (such as tracking R&M spend by machine).
The overhaul of Lawson Grains data sources resulted in creating connections between inputs, production, machinery efficiencies, labour, and outputs. Current and historical data is hosted in the cloud that provides security and easy access from anywhere. As a result, Lawson Grains has an enhanced overview of farm production and streamlined internal and on-farm processes.
“Working with Toustone has been great. They have been able to effectively capture information off multiple platforms and automate it. The solution has definitely made the backend of the office more efficient by getting all that data into one spot. Their personal insight continues to provide different ways to look at the data and get more out of it.”Mat WellBusiness Systems Analyst at Lawson Grains
Toustone will continue their partnership with Lawson Grains to capture all of their relevant data sources. This will enable Lawson Grains to further utilise their data to operate efficiently, with precise control of production and cost management.
Like many Agribusinesses, there is an ever-expanding need for software, Internet of Things (IoTs), machinery diagnostic and other data sources that improve farm production. Lawson Grains has plans to add more IoT devices on their farms to improve production insight and integrate HR data into the existing data model. These IoT devices will automatically perform tasks such as temperature capture, assessing frost risk, and mapping the farms through topographical elevation readings.
Key business outcomes
- Removal of highly manual and labour intense reporting process
- Connected and automated data sources
- Enhanced data accuracy, integrity and accessibility
- Improved inventory management
- Better farm performance
- Future direction for smart farming