Bruce Gilson manages Tierhoek Organic Farm in the Noree Valley – not too far from Robertson in the Western Cape. The farm has around 40 ha in production, with the remainder of the 1660 hectares being wild mountain. Bruce has been using fieldmargin on his operation since 2020.
Tierhoek Farm has been organic since 2000, and now uses only certified organic materials. Their main business is running a fruit orchard farm, with a mixture of crops including apricots, lemons, olives, plums, tomatoes and other vegetables. They also have seasonal vegetable production which provides vegetables for customers throughout the season (find more details here).
Bruce and the team are always environmentally-minded. One example is how Bruce collects old cooking oil from local restaurants and recycles it into Biodiesel. The farm is a WWF Conservation Champion and alongside other environmental projects Bruce is committed to removing invasive plants such as Eucalyptus on his farm. As well as restoring the eco-system, this process can also reduce risk of drought in the area. (Read more here)
The big challenge for managing the Tierhoek operation is juggling just how much is going on! As well as planning and monitoring the day-to-day tasks of fruit production, they also have guest cottages, a small number of animals and environmental work to monitor.
“No matter how hard you try, with an operation this size and mixed you can’t remember everything,” says Bruce.
After his son saw the fieldmargin app on Instagram, Bruce decided to give it a go. The aim was to keep the farm plans records together as a diary in one easy-to-access place.
When talking about his experience of fieldmargin so far, Bruce said that it has really helped with the organisation of details about his farm.
“I am enjoying it! I can see the map when I need it,” he said. “Having a map in my pocket helps when planning and checking on progress in the field.
The first technical project that the farm used fieldmargin for was mapping the land’s fields and permanent features. The team mapped out the electricity lines, drinking systems, and irrigation systems using features on the web. Being able to view this on a mobile made them release the monitoring value of the tech.
“This feature has allowed us to monitor workload and progress during larger projects such as clearing land or building new irrigation systems,” says Bruce.
The next step was to add day-to-day jobs to the digital to-do list, with tasks including pruning, mulching, and irrigation.
“No matter how many hours or how many days in the week, we are always have jobs to do,” says Bruce. “We use the tasks for planning jobs that need to be done around the orchards and in the cottage.”
“The app is really useful because we already have a lot of things happening. As well as a great tool for planning, having fieldmargin for the daily management of tasks has really helped in being able to look over what has been done.”
When you complete a job on a field in fieldmargin it becomes part of the field history. The time and date is automatically saved and becomes part of your records.
Bruce continues: “Now I have a diary for each orchard, this can all be seen in fieldmargin mobile app wherever I am.”
Since the release of costings to fieldmargin last month, Bruce has been able to add costs of product that he uses on his farm to the web platform and track expenditure next season.
“So far, the costings are really helpful,” he says. “It is the beginning of the season here and as I add inputs to plans I will also be able to monitor the costs we will use.”
You can read a bit more about Tierhoek Organic Farm here.
Learn more about fieldmargin, the app where you can keep all your farm details in the same place, here.
Have any questions or fancy a demo? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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