Farm views run a wide gamut…
FW talked recently to a random sample of farmers about computers and IT. The range of views revealed was wide, to say the least…
James Lord, Crossdoney, Co Cavan: "Computers have come down a lot in price. The first one we bought cost about £3000 and it was pretty basic – my watch probably does more now than that did. We now have one in the office and one in the milking parlour – and we couldnt manage without them."
David Francis, Saffron Walden, Essex: "I havent got a computer and I dont want one. We do everything manually and this works fine. I cant understand computers and they are too expensive. Maybe my son, Ray, who is 24, will get one."
Gerard Rochford, Wexford: "Running a farm, together with a contracting and haulage business, involves so much paperwork. But at the moment the nearest I get to information technology is a fax machine. I am, however, currently investigating what to buy. Getting a computer is a bit like paying the taxman: You can only put it off for so long."
Andrew Quick, Taunton, Somerset: "I use a computer for basic tasks, such as spreadsheets, letters and staff rotors. Im really just using it as I would a calculator or a typewriter. But I love technology and if it was cheap, I would have everything. I want to familiarise myself with whats on offer before I start shopping because I fear the high-pressure salesman. Its not like going to buy a piece of farm machinery, when I know exactly what I want and why I want it. Another concern is that, at least initially, I will have to continue running a paper system as well as a computer-based one, so this may take more time."
Robin Thompson, Long Buckby, Northants: "We first used computers for accounts about 10 years ago. Now, we use them throughout the business. Everything from enterprise recording to livestock breeding and payroll. We have found is that when we have wanted to run new software, there may be an additional hardware cost. Equipment soon becomes outdated, and our original one was recently consigned to the bin. Its useful getting the kids familiar with technology – but Im not sure I would want them let loose in the office unsupervised."
Daphne Tucker, Callington, Cornwall: "We havent got a computer now but its only a matter of time. While it might seem like a luxury initially, it would soon become a necessity. With my daughter at agricultural college, and my son recently finished studying, they are familiar with the technology. I would still like to attend a training course to give me the confidence to use it. Cost is also a factor, especially following the BSE crisis."