Productivity and efficiency have increased at Clibborn Farms due to advances in technology, including a stronger
The 355-hectare Methven family farm is now into its third generation, with Sus Palmer and husband Dale serving as
directors alongside Sus’s dad Rod Clibborn.
Rod, 73, is happy to see his daughter and her young growing family of three children taking the mixed cropping property
into the future, having little enthusiasm for today’s endless requirements of monitoring and recording.
Rod took over the farm from his father who had expanded from an initial 100 acres allocated by the government as a war
rehabilitation block in the 1940s. He continues to put in a full working week and meets regularly with fellow directors
to consult on how the business is going.
Sus retains the family tradition of providing the day’s main meal at lunch for all on site, whether it be family,
workers, contractors, shearers, agents or visitors.
She also manages the office and relies on a satellite internet connection as there is no copper or fibre network in the
rural area. Sus finds it generally reliable, aside from weather interference.
“We switched to a new provider and we’re on a $60 per month plan which is reasonable. If we have a lot of wind or bad
weather, it can disrupt the connection.
“It’s come a long way, considering 10 years ago we could not even get dial-up here,” Sus says.
“But it’s difficult to see how well connected we will be, when we might require it much more in 10 years’ time.”
Sus says that while many compliance changes have been introduced in the agricultural sector, the government has not kept
up by making sure farmers have reliable internet.
“We need a reliable internet connection to provide the required data.”
At Clibborn Farms, crop paddock records and projections including yields, irrigation, fertiliser and chemical rates, are
kept in ProductionWise, a cloud-based application. The software is provided free by the Foundation for Arable Research
(FAR) to its members.
Data for stock, stock movements, animal health, health and safety, digital maps of the farm and a timeline of activities
are also kept in the cloud, using FarmIQ. Dale and Sus and their full-time staff member have iPhones, so they can
connect while out in the field and log their activity and observations.
When it comes to on-farm irrigation, having a strong internet connection is essential. The farm’s centre pivots are
operated via the cloud, where variables such as application rate are determined in line with field data.
Clibborn Farms uses a cloud-based accounting software programme ensuring streamlining of financial activities from
invoicing to budgeting. The bank manager and accountant can log into the programme enabling them to keep up with
Sus says thorough record-keeping is essential for accountability and all the cloud-based software programmes used on the
farm help when submitting information for their Farm Environment Plan (FEP).
“We find because we are quite vigilant with keeping on top of our records, it makes the auditing process much easier.”
Keeping such up-to-date records boosts efficiency and cuts down on office time which in turn increases the farm’s
productivity and profitability.
“It’s vital to have excellent record keeping so you can prove what you’re doing on-farm. We’re the guardians of this
land so we want to make sure it’s in great condition.”