Finding your way around half a million acres.

CUSTOMER STORY

– FarmMap4D keeps distant shareholders happy and informs key decision making

The Client

  • Michael and Hannah Crisp
  • North West Queensland
  • ~ 240,000 ha
  • 25,000 head of Beef Cattle

For Michael, FarmMap4D provides the information and imagery to inform the 60-odd shareholders and six directors of Lorraine Pastoral Company. The interactive map also provides new staff certainty that they were doing the right thing in the right place.

The Brief

Better utilisation of country meant a way to make smarter, more strategic decisions.

The feature that has really impressed Michael has been FarmMap4D’s ability to assess grazing circles around watering points, which he says has led to better utilisation of country, reduced erosion and enabled the team to fence for wet season spelling in strategic areas. 

 

The Requirements

When your cattle station is at the top of Australia and your shareholders are 2000km away, it’s a constant challenge to convey the reasoning behind everyday decisions such as destocking, planting crops or installing new watering points. 

Intel to determine where to put new watering points or fences, produce ground cover analysis to support the decision to destock, and ensure new staff don’t get lost in a 12,000-hectare paddock. 

As the main decision-maker on the ground, Michael says the more information he can provide to stakeholders about managing 25,000 head of cattle and an extensive irrigated farming operation, the better. 

FarmMap4D’s colour-coded information provided at the tap of a keyboard is easy to understand and the interactive online program is updated regularly. 

 “We can look at data from the past six months or the past five years in a row, all the way back to 1987, to see how the station is performing and assess the results from our decisions, he says. 

“I can take a snapshot and send it to staff, shareholders or government departments to show the planning and subsequent results of decisions taken on managing stock and installing infrastructure.” 

Easy to use

We’d tried other mapping programs but couldn’t get the hang of it and weren’t very computer literate, but FarmMap4D wasn’t hard. We had a fair bit of interaction on the phone as they ironed the bugs out at the start. 

Now I use it at least every week. Because the ground cover analysis is colour-coded I reckon a five year old could understand it – green for good, red for bad – but there is also backup support which I’ve had to call on from time to time.” 

Integration with other mapping software

An interactive map of Lorraine’s 240,000 hectares, on the Leichardt River just 50 metres above sea level, was also vital to give more certainty to new staff that they were doing the right thing in the right place – not always easy when the largest paddock covers 15,000 hectares. 

Now it’s a simple case of asking new staff to download the map app Avenza onto their GPS-enabled smart phones, and they have access to detailed topography, fence lines, stockyards, watering points and roads at their fingertips. 

“It’s a simple case of asking new staff to download the map app onto their smart phones, and thanks to FarmMap4D they have access to detailed topography, fence lines, stockyards, watering points and roads at their fingertips. 

MICHAEL CRISP

Informing key stakeholders

The information provided by FarmMap4D has also become a valuable source for Lorraine Pastoral Company’s 60-odd shareholders and six directors, the majority of whom live more than 2000km away in New South Wales.  

As the main decision-maker on the ground, Michael says the more information he can provide to stakeholders about managing 25,000 head of cattle and an extensive irrigated farming operation, the better. 

A few shareholders wondered why we were starting to lighten off the herd this year but we sent them the ground cover analysis to show how much the country had dried off, and there were no more questions,” Michael said. 

It was a common misconception that the northwest had had an excellent season after the devastating 2019 floods, when in fact it didn’t rain again for 10 months from February 2019 to January 2020. 

Assessing watering points

The feature that has really impressed Michael has been FarmMap4D’s ability to assess grazing circles around watering points, which he says has led to better utilisation of country, reduced erosion and enabled the team to fence for wet season spelling in strategic areas. 

We don’t want cattle walking more than 2.5km to water from the furthest point of the paddock, so we base the fencing on that. We can designate on the map whether a watering point is permanent or seasonal, and it superimposes different colours to give us a number of options,” Michael explains. 

“As a result we’ve doubled the watering points on Lorraine over the past 13 years and reduced the size of the paddocks and the pressure on pasture. FarmMap4D takes out the guesswork – we design the shape of the paddocks based on the data, not what we’d assumed they should be. 

It’s also been pivotal in fine-tuning the installation of water pipelines, by showing the rise and fall of the land and indicating what size pump and pipe is needed to push the water along. 

Assess results from decisions

As the maps are constantly updated with current ground cover data, Michael can take a snapshot and send it to staff, shareholders or government departments. 

“We can look at data from the past six months or the past five years in a row, all the way back to 1987, to see how the station ground cover/pasture is performing and assess the results from our decisions.” 

FarmMap4D –
you wouldn’t property plan without it

He’s happy to keep paying the annual subscription for FarmMap4D as it’s become integral to the successful running of Lorraine Station. 

“Every time you learn something new you wish you’d known it 3years ago, and that’s how I feel about FarmMap4D! Some people might think it’s a lot of money for a little map but you wouldn’t consider property planning without it,” Michael says.