Our Founder, Mark Walker, on the inception of fieldmargin
In 2008 a unique set of circumstances left me managing an arable farm in Herfordshire. After 20 years in the London tech start up sector I was looking forward to a new career. I enjoyed the challenge but found parts of the job really frustrating. The sheer volume of information was overwhelming and I found it impossible to commit all facts and figures to memory. In my previous career I had become used to accessing and sharing information on my mobile. Without this information to hand I found myself faced with the choice of trekking to the farm office to look up the information I required or of deciding what to do in the absence of accurate information. Inevitably I found myself sat in front of my computer far more frequently than I would otherwise of liked.
Communication between my Agronomist, Spray Operator and Contractor was achieved through a combination of email, phone calls and paper notes. Often these interactions were not recorded and record keeping consisted of laboriously piecing together all of these communications to see what actually took place. Not the easiest of tasks when recommendations are often changed and updated based on changing weather and crop conditions. Fieldmargin was built to tackle these communication issues and allow Agronomists, Contractors and Spray Operators to access, update and share information. Everyone now works on the same information. A change made by anyone is immediately seen by all other parties.
Our Beta has now been successfully tested on farm for the last 2 years. We have had some great feedback and are now looking to secure funding to increase the size of our team and take our product to market. Our next steps are to build a talented, motivated team who can provide the sort of product that will be embraced by the whole farming community. We need to ensure that farmer or agronomist can carry all of their cropping information in their pocket – note taking, mapping and crop management must all be available on a device smaller that the size of your hand. Oh – and our customers also want this information available offline. The technical challenges are substantial and require an exceptional skillset but hey, that’s what makes this product so exciting.