Most of us love “free” stuff, right? First, let’s clarify, in this blog post we are talking about free farm management software. Not spiritual things such as love, friends, happy memories, hugs which are free but at the same time priceless.
Is genuinely free farm management software really sustainable? To develop even basic software will take a significant amount of time. It could take several years to develop software which will bring value to the farmer. And that is just development, the software will need to be maintained, further improved, and hosted. All these things cost money, so why do some companies offer “free” software? By now you are probably sensing that genuinely free farm management software would be unsustainable. Software companies may allow you to use their software for free, but they will want something in return. Here are some of the things which software provider may want you to trade:
- Your personal or your farm’s data
- Limited free functionalities, where software company will want you to pay to unlock all the other functionalities which you really need
- Free software often comes with ads, which are annoying and software company will want you to click on them
- Brand building. Software may be free for now while the software company is building their brand
While there are tradeoffs, free farm management software still may be a desirable choice if it meets your requirements, and you are okay with seeing some ads on the page. Most of us do use some kind of free software already. For example, for email many of us are using Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook, etc.
Steer away from free farm management software
If your farm requires detailed farm data management, my recommendation is to steer away from free software offerings. You will want software which will help you to manage your farm for many years to come. It will take some effort to set up your farm management software, in which you will want to invest once. Instead of spending your precious time setting up accounts every time you want to try new software. And most importantly, we need to consider the longevity and available support for the software we choose. We have already established that it takes money to build, maintain and improve software, and if it is genuinely free, that software will not be around for a long time.
On top of my recommendation list is Value. You need a tool which will help you to save time, money, and improve effectiveness in your farming operation. The software is just a tool just like any other tool which helps you to perform your primary function which is farming.
Does the software have the functionalities you need? For example, if you are farming permanent crops, make sure that the software has features for permanent crop management built in or has enough customization so you can configure it to your needs.
Simple. Complex software is one of the biggest deterrents from using any software in the first place. Simplicity is especially important for farm management software because many software users will be field workers out on the field, not inside cozy office space.
Support. Farmers are busy, there are many things happening out on the farm at any given moment. Therefore, it is especially important that farmers get quality support quickly, so they can get back to their main function – farming.
While AgNote is not free, our goal is to provide value for you. Please register now and try AgNote free for a week!