6 ways macadamia orchards in SA use fieldmargin to keep all farm information accessible on the go

6 ways macadamia orchards in SA use fieldmargin to keep all farm information accessible on the go

Macadamia nuts are hard to beat when it comes to the most lucrative crop per land area used in South Africa. South Africa is currently the largest macadamia producer in the world with 19,500 hectares under cultivation, producing over 50,000 tonnes per year. Currently, there is such a high demand for trees that there is a three-year waiting list (SOURCE).

fieldmargin has been working with Macadamia Orchards to help them have all the farm information accessible on a smartphone. In this article we will share how you can: 

  • Produce a color-coded map of your blocks and plan your irrigation. 
  • Geotag notes for scouting for monitoring tree health
  • Store drone imagery alongside maps
  • Report chemical and fertilizer usage
  • Track harvest progress and compare performance across blocks
  • Monitor profit & loss per block

Mapping orchards and sharing a digital map 🌳

Map your farm in just 30 minutes or upload shape files or KML files to create field boundaries.

With fieldmargin, you can record what is in each of your fields, see their color coded on the map and get the total areas for each of your usages. Your farm records are grouped into Farm Years

The usage reports makes it a breeze to see what proportion of your land is assigned to each crop and how much you have left over to plant. 

View usage reports on web

Precision irrigation is ideal for macadamia, as it delivers water at the same rate that the plant absorbs it, ensuring the soil moisture is always at the optimal level the tree needs (SOURCE).

Features on fieldmargin can be used to plan and map your irrigation setup.  This means that you can share details with everyone in the operation. You can also save money by being more accurate when ordering supplies. 

Permanent features on fieldmargin can be mapped as points, lines, and areas.

Geo-tagged scouting for monitoring tree health 📍

For macadamia production it is important to stay ahead of pests with scouting.  In this example in Levubu in Limpopo, scouting in a macadamia orchard revealed a large presence of stink bugs. With the right management practices, this pest was controlled by bats.

You can use located notes with pictures for scouting and tracking observations and issues around the farm. 

Notes are shown as points on the mobile map

“We have no cellphone reception in the orchards but fieldmargin lets me capture the location of diseased trees and make notes in field then it automatically updates when I’m back online. This is a game changer for me.”

Mike Jackson, KwaZulu-Natal, SA

Using fieldmargin means they are easier to refer to later in the season so that you can see how they impacted results. For example, if you have trees that are damaged or infected you can set a reminder for treatment and then record if treatment is effective as part of the note.

Set a location so you know where the issue is in the field.

Storing drone imagery alongside maps 🚀

You can use fieldmargin’s integration with DroneDeploy to plan drone flights and view maps. Being able to view the maps from his drone flights on fieldmargin makes it easy for him to share them with others and make recommendations in the field. 

These maps can easily be shared between consultants and advisors. Liam Highcock advises and sets up precision agriculture techniques for macadamia plantations and vineyards in Durban, South Africa. Before he found fieldmargin Liam regularly had issues sharing drone maps with his customers. The file size of drone images can be very large and when he sent them to customers with older computers they would have difficulties opening the file. Since using fieldmargin Liam has been able to invite customers to the farms he has set up so that they can view the drone maps anywhere they want.

“fieldmargin has totally solved the problem of storing and viewing drone maps. I can share maps with my customers instantly and they love to receive their maps alongside the fieldmargin maps and data.”

Liam Highcock, KwaZulu-Natal, SA

Reports of chemical and fertilizer usage 🚜

With Field Jobs you can track  everything that needs to be applied in the orchard like fertilizer and herbicide use. This is essential information for auditing, and monitoring crop performance. 

In South Africa you also have access to a pesticide database so that using Field Jobs you can access the pesticide database. This allows you to view the Registration number, Active ingredient, and Unit as part of your job. 

“Reports such as chemical usage, P&L, input summaries and yield/harvesting reports are invaluable to monitor and compare. Also its great to have all the farm information accessible on my smartphone.”

Anthony Weaver, KwaZulu-Natal, SA

Macadamia trees are not heavy feeders, and their fine lateral roots are efficient in absorbing phosphorus and calcium, even where there are low levels of these nutrients in the soil. (SOURCE).

However, according to Gerhard, a fertiliser consultant and senior lecturer at the University of South Africa, the first thing producers must realise is that the phenological cycle is the primary determining factor for macadamia orchard management and fertilization, and not the calendar month.

fieldmargin is a useful tool for nutrient planning and tracking.  You can set the nutrient content of the fertilizers that you are using on your Blocks so that you can track applied quantities of NPK and other micronutrients. This will allow you to:

  • Record the quantities of nutrients applied per job
  • Use target nutrient requirements to calculate the quantity of fertilizer required
Track nutrient and micro-nutrients with fertilising jobs from your mobile.

Tracking harvest progress 📊

With harvesting jobs, you can records harvest and compare performance across blocks.  This data can be viewed on mobile and also exported as a spreadsheet to be used as part of external analysis. 

Compare performance across blocks with yield reports on web.

Monitoring profit & loss per block 💸

According to statistics from the SA Macadamia Growers’ Association (Samac), the average export price for macadamia kernels in 2017 was R224.15/kg. If you subtract production costs – for irrigation and fertiliser – of around R25,000 per hectare per year, you will still have made a profit. 

At fieldmargin, our goal is to make it easier for farmers to keep good records and have all the information they need at their fingertips for farm decision making. New to 2022, our “Gross Margins” feature will help you see how your fields and crop types are performing financially.  Tracking your total spend and margins for each field has never been easier.

“fieldmargin is integral to my brother and I, ensuring we both know the progress of planned tasks in our Macadamia orchard. Completed tasks are then permanently recorded in one location with the ability to monitor profit & loss per block in our Macadamia orchard.”

Anthony Weaver, KwaZulu-Natal, SA

If you need any help getting started with any of this on your farm we are always here to offer help and support. Interested in a 1:1 demo to ask questions fro your operation? Books a meeting here

You can also contact us at support@fieldmargin.com or on (+44) 203 289 4200. 

Do you have other ways you use fieldmargin we haven’t included? Let us know!


Leave a Reply