Map your farm using RPA field boundaries

Map your farm using RPA field boundaries

If you are in England you can set up your digital farm map on fieldmargin in a couple of minutes by importing field boundaries from the Rural Payment Agency.

All you need is access to a computer and your Single Business Identifier (SBI) number. It’s so fast that you can go from a blank canvas to a farm with your fields mapped and cropping set up in your coffee break.

Here’s one we made earlier! We sped this recording up a little bit but this whole process only took about 5 minutes (including typos!) for a farm with about 20 fields.

To get started, open the fieldmargin app in your browser. You will need to register and create a farm if you don’t have an account yet or you can use an existing farm. It’s free to get started and our farm mapping tools are available on the free plan.

Create a farm to get started

Open the RPA boundary import tool from the import menu on the Fields tab. Enter your SBI number, agree to the terms of use and then search for your fields. A map will appear with all the fields associated with that SBI number and their field references (Ordinance Survey field numbers). These are the the field boundaries that the RPA uses for Basic Payments (BPS) applications. You can choose to exclude some fields (for example very small areas or ones that you are not farming) by clicking them on the map. You can rename the fields to their actual names by clicking the name on the column on the right, as you select a field it will highlight on the map. Click ‘Create’ and your new fields will appear on your farm. You can find more detailed instructions for this process here.

Importing field boundaries from the RPA

When you create your fields the app will automatically prompt you to set field usages. This is how you can record what you have in your fields such as types of crop or pasture. For each usage on your farm you can give it a name and a colour and then select the fields with that use by selecting them on the map or from the list. fieldmargin has the concept of Farm Years so you can see cropping in different seasons to help plan rotations. You can learn more about this here.

Quickly set up what your fields are being used for

Now that you have your farm mapped out you can add more detail using features (find out how here). Some ideas for how you might want to use these are to map environmental stewardship areas, health and safety hazards, drainage or NVZ risk mapping. Everything that you add on the web app is also accessible and automatically kept in sync on the mobile app.

Use features to add detail to your map

Your fields will be the basis for your farm records. You can use Field Jobs to plan and record field scale work such as cultivations, drilling, spraying, fertiliser applications, harvesting or livestock movements. Field Jobs include inputs to be used such as sprays, planned date, who should do the work and when it was completed. Each field has a history which gives you an easy to refer to timeline of when each job was completed.

Getting started streamlining farm planning and reporting with Field Jobs
Example field job and input report

You can also add located notes to record issues or observations with pictures. For example patches of weeds or livestock treatments.

It is free to get started with fieldmargin and all the mapping functionality, including RPA import, is included on our free plan. On the free plan you are limited to 30 days of history of notes and jobs and 5 inputs. You can upgrade to Essentials (£3.75/month) for unlimited history and basic reporting and you will need Plus (£20/month) for unlimited inputs and more advanced reporting. Find out more about our plans here.

Leave a Reply