Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)  (Read 7196 times)


  • Joined Jun 2010
  • Somerset
    • Millers Of Sedgemoor
    • Facebook
Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« on: August 14, 2010, 03:03:11 am »
Hi everyone,

For those who can remember, when I came here first i said i was playing with the idea of some software for smallholders; as far as I am aware the only similar system in place so far is aimed at large agriculture. So I'm looking at the sort of thing that you can keep husbandry records with medication information, maybe a small accounts system, and hopefully integrate it with Defra paperwork and other such documentation.

I have been doing web work for a while now and software engineering for a number of years prior to my illness so I thought i would see if Ive still got it  ;)

Couldn't think of a better place to try it out than here at TAS, I don't have any thoughts on selling it in the future at this juncture, however; if It did end up going that way than TAS members would certainly have some sort of waver or major discount. (Still a long way off and will be a while: If I actually get it done at all, very much a trial at the moment so please bare that in mind.)

It would be so useful if you would tell me what you would like from it and what it would mean to you; especially those who don't think they would ever use it, for what ever reasons. I'm going to do a few questions that I need answering then please add anything you want to see.

First question is:

1/ What do you think it should be based on?
 1a/ A stand alone programme that you install and it runs its self
 1b/ Should I use word & Excel etc and base it on templates.
 1c/ other suggestions welcome

2/ What diversities do you all do?

2a/ Animals, Poultry, Vegtables, Fruit, Herbs or even Crafts


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2010, 08:19:25 am »
Sounds good, personally not excel, I prefer word.  Having said that I am a technophobe.

I keep pigs, chickens and ducks.


  • Joined May 2010
Re: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2010, 11:14:57 am »
Hi Cobra.  I'm glad you're still working on it.  I too am not good with computers and I suspect that not many smallholders are so if you can make it user-friendly that would be more popular.  I hate spreadsheets, if only because they look so half-baked - like lined paper in Junior school !
Is it possible to include something to do with pedigrees and breeding records?  Or is that too ambitious or would need to be something separate?
Equipment records eg tractor servicing, road tax, MOTs due etc might be worth including.

Things to do, with priorities, perhaps in each area? eg 'repair fence at roadside', vehicles - 'quad tyres need pumping up', housing - 'repair pophole hinges', 'replace slates on house roof before the winter', that sort of thing.

Somewhere for us to fill in routine jobs for the year, such as the shepherds calendar but for each individual enterprise. Vegetables would be the most challenging and there are already various versions of that, none of which i find very helpful. Flexible would be best and visible all on one screen.

I'm sure I'll think up more ideas.

Question 1) - sorry sir I don't understand the question  ;D
Question 2) - all of those
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.


  • Joined Apr 2010
Re: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2010, 03:26:50 pm »
Think I'm going to be the odd one out here but being used to Excel from a former life I'd love it to be Excel based or to be able to download the data into Excel for me to mess about with.

We've only recently purchased our smallholding but looking ahead we would definitely be interested in an at a glance accounts summary and all the animal husbandry stuff and Defra bits would be fantastic as the paperwork seems a bit daunting at the moment. Also, as we are also planninng to sell plants and seeds, some way to track which ones are the most popular so we could plan for the following year would be great.


  • Joined Sep 2009
  • Wales
Re: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2010, 04:17:45 pm »
Would a sharepoint based system not enable the use of excel and word documents and give greater versatility for organising various documents scan etc


  • Joined Sep 2008
  • Avonbridge, Falkirk
Re: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2010, 07:09:24 pm »
I would be fine with both Sharepoint and/or Excel (now that I use it so much more!).

One comment though- remember there's not just DEFRA paperwork- we have to work with SEERAD here.



  • Joined Oct 2009
Re: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2010, 08:06:56 pm »
I use a modified version of the SEERAD spreadsheet for my records - I've attached the template.

By adding more tags, I can customise it for medicine records and for individual flocks etc, while still having the basic movement records on the first tag.  Have a look at it.

However, I'd also be interested in smallholders software - I'm just not sure what I'd want beyond the record keeping features - perhaps some accounting module?



  • Joined Oct 2009
Re: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2010, 08:53:49 pm »
I should add that I use a different tag (worksheet in Excel language) for each year, so that I can see the movement records on an annual basis.  This also means that I can print them individually.

The template was downloaded from the SEERAD website, and as far as I know it's perfectly acceptable to keep all the records on a PC (with a backup of course).



  • Joined May 2010
Re: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2010, 09:58:17 pm »
Ok I was wrong - everyone else loves computers  ;D :D ;D :D

Going back to Susie's comments, even in the ordinary veggie bit it would be good to have a place to record failures and successes, crop weights or numbers, what to grow again, what methods to use again and which to forget, varieties which did well and which failed, room for comments etc. Similarly with egg output, meat birds reared, lambing percentages, feed used and cost.
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the the lifeblood of your land.


  • Joined Jun 2010
  • Somerset
    • Millers Of Sedgemoor
    • Facebook
Re: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2010, 01:42:26 am »
Wow  ;D

Thanks to one and all, for not only a thumbs up on the idea but some really useful feedback to get an idea of direction.

A massive thank you to Dan of TAS for giving me permission to do this on the forums: I will stick by my initial stance that members here, particularly those who help put this together will benefit one way or another should this become a viable idea; Please at the moment this is a personal project and nothing more with the idea that the friends I have made here can benefit from it.
I have no idea how close to fruition this idea will come to being an actual item; but it seems it has a real chance at the moment. Dan has given his full support to the idea, especially if enough member's on TAS are interested in the concept.

(Now watch some company see this on the net; nick all our ideas and get ahead of me ::) )

Rather than attempt individual replies, I can firmly say that each and everyone one of you have input with very useful feedback, so thanks a million: I'm putting it all on my note pad and try to get a feel for whats wanted or needed.

To build a programme not only takes a lot of time for one chap but it also takes an awful lot of data space; even the backbone of the structure is large.

I think from the points you've made here, it may be a case of building in versions or having a basic version the utilise addons: Shall we say ? Build the basic programme around the more prolific or popular smallholder stock or produce to start with, then build additional addons so people can add them if they choose and if it suits their needs; That way, no one need have this big lump of software taking up their harddrive when they only really use part of it.

Some obvious considerations from my point of view and this will tale some looking into are the following.

Some use Microsoft some use Apple Mac, so it needs to run on either operating system. Even in MS, some have MS-Office and some have MS-Works, and yes theres a difference the works version is much less capable than the Office and some stuff will run on one and not the other, so i will look at the idea of having software that can be exported to Excel etc at the users personal preference.


England, Scotland, Ireland.

Different rules and legislation to take into consideration; I'm going to have my work cut out learning enough about these to make this work and of benefit.

I'm pretty poorly tonight, as some of you are aware, I'm fighting illness and bad days happen, medication is increased and i write unwritable stuff so sorry for any horrible spelling, bad grammer or intense waffling this evening, looks like I'm up for the night  ;D Good news is when ever i did coursework at UN with meds and was a bit high I usually got distinctons  ???  :D so don't worry about my meds and the programming, it ell be fine  ;D
« Last Edit: August 15, 2010, 05:12:30 am by Cobra »


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2010, 09:11:05 am »
I again like to use Excel/spreadsheets, it just allows you to do formulas and statistics very easily. but then I like that sort of thing, sad I know...).

However why don't you start with one part of your proposal, like an animal records system incl medical sheets and then expand? For example with my veg garden records I just write them down in a book, so can take it outside and make notes, also planning time for these things is usually in winter and I do that in front of the fire and have time to read through the notes... (and so far I don't need to present these to DEFRA/SEERAD or even the EU....)

One thing that many smallholders might fine useful is a poultry breeding records system, I start to loose track of my now (very) mixed flock of homebred chooks, and am pretty close to 50 right now...


  • Joined Oct 2007
Re: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2010, 10:20:59 am »
Dont know if this could work but would it be possible to have a movement licence form onto which information from other areas could be transferred easily without loads of searching, told you I am a technophone so imagine anything to do with a computer can be done magically by the initiated.


  • Joined Jun 2010
  • Somerset
    • Millers Of Sedgemoor
    • Facebook
Re: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2010, 05:11:31 pm »
Thanks again for the feedback: Don't worry how odd the requests seem, lets put them all in the hat and see what comes out; the more ideas and feedback the better it should be, provided I can interrupt things correctly of course. Anka your not sad, I love Excel for the same reasons as your self, i have a large file to track my home bills and accounts etc; used it for years and would be quite lost without it now.
As I said before I'm pretty sure starting with one basic system then adding to it in modules or addons will be the way ahead, then people can add those things they use and leave the stuff they don't need, i also agree there must be a lot of stuff that is written in the yard or field and the PC is no good for that, of course theres always i-phone Apps to run along side of it  ;) Oh ok slow down I'm getting ahead of my self  ;D

Trouble is Ive been away from programming for so long now Ill have to get back into it, All Ive been doing for the last year or two is designing and hosting websites at my server. I have some space left on the server, I only really do this for friend's and family but again happy to concider members here, time and health allowing.

Here are some of mine:

Had a lot at one time, but as my health declined I passed a few on. been doing it for 6 years now, keeps the grey matter in the right place, so long as I don't over do it.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2010, 05:31:55 pm by Cobra »


  • Joined Jun 2009
Re: Software for smallholders (Maybe?)
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2010, 07:09:59 pm »
Somewhere in the Poultry section is a post containing a spreadsheet file for poultry - it's american but I've anglicised it and I find it very useful. It gives me % productivity, feed cost per egg, income & expenditure etc for each month, then a yearly summary. I'll try & find it..... :chook:
Could be adapted?


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