Alistair (Asty) Hynd, his father and uncle operate a contracting business and 216-acre farm, near Coupar Angus, Perthshire, and increasingly new technology is helping them keep a tab on their operations.

“Four generations of our family have farmed here and the contracting business was started by my grandfather,” he explained. DS Hynd and Sons operates from Hillfoot Farm, where the family have 110 acres of arable crops and 106 acres of hill ground to graze their herd of Simmental cross, Limousin cross and Shorthorn cross cattle.

The arable land produces barley, potatoes, turnips and grass for silage. The business runs 12 Massey Ferguson tractors, including a 7618 with a FL4621 loader, which is fitted with Quicke Q Companion and a 6480 with a Massey 965 loader. There are also two Massey combines and a JF Stoll forage harvester.

Grassland machinery extends to a Vicon twin rotor rake, a Vicon four rotor tedder, two silage trailers, a Kuhn 3135 baler, Vicon RV2160 belt baler and a McHale bale wrapper.

“In autumn and winter, we use our two Bunning muck spreaders and our five-furrow and six-furrow Kverneland ploughs before drilling with an Opico grass harrow, Horsch Pronto and Horsch Express in the spring,” he explained.

“We are always lifting and loading. In winter we lift turnips, in spring and summer its silage and baling before muck spreading in the autumn,” he added. “The common link for us is that everything has to be weighed.

“I read about a device that could be fitted to a loader to record weights and thought it would be a handy tool for the work we do.” So, in 2019, the business purchased a new loader fitted with Q Companion, a load weighing device from Quicke.

This load weighing software gave Mr Hynd accurate load measurement and instrument position information via an in-cab monitor.

The data from each load weighed is recorded in a cloud based server that he accesses using an app on his phone or computer. “I can see how much I have lifted in a day, a week or even compare time periods,” he said.

Mr Hynd used the software to ensure that quantities of produce, such as turnips, were loaded correctly. “We have one driver who knows his trailer weighs 150kg over. I loaded 28 tonnes, 270 kg of turnips and Q Companion confirmed this when I completed the job. He checked his trailer reading and confirmed it was 28 tonnes and 120 kg.

“We could, therefore, agree that the correct amount had been loaded and there was no need for a weigh bridge,” explained Mr Hynd.

For greater accuracy and to avoid overloading, Mr Hynd used the device to accurately load his trailers. Silage baling is important work for Mr Hynd and efficiency of time and labour is paramount during the silage season.

“Before having the load weigher, we used to guess the weight of the bales. We would weigh one and then assume that the others were similar. To prevent overloading, we would stop at 14 or 15 bales,” explained Mr Hynd.

Being able to weigh each bale as it is lifted offered Mr Hynd, real time, cumulative loading weights, so he could load the maximum number of bales and know that the trailer is within the legal limit.

“I can now put 16 bales on a trailer because I know it’s not overloaded.” This meant that in a field of approximately 200 bales, he was able to save one full load.

“During a day, the bales dry out so being able to weigh in real time we found we were adding an extra two bales by the end of the day because of the reduced weight,” he added.

Mr Hynd buys in straw in the bout, which he bales and transports to higher ground where there is little arable land. Straw is priced by the tonne, but sold in bales. Therefore, he can use Q Companion to accurately weigh bales and establish the right price.

“I bale straw on farms where a weigh bridge is too far away to be viable. Being able to weigh each bale in the field and establish the price based on the rate per tonne gives me and farmer the fairest and most accurate deal,” said Mr Hynd.

During the autumn and early winter, Mr Hynd spreads farm yard manure. His team of three use two tractors with GPS mapping and the size of each field is mapped before agreeing the amount of manure required per acre.

“Both tractors have mapping but we also use a third tractor with Q Companion to weigh the manure. I use the load recording function to give the farmer a report of how much we have spread per acre and demonstrate that we have accurately applied throughout the whole area,” he explained.

Although largely used for measuring, Q Companion can also be used to gauge implement height and angle reference. This meant Mr Hynd does not need to readjust the manual indicator rod when changing implements.

The way each job is recorded also helps him monitor operational efficiencies and plan for each job using data from the last. “I can look at the number of hours it takes to do a job and how many loads were needed to help me quote the next job. Each time I get a little more accurate because I can evaluate the performance and efficiency of each job,” he pointed out.

Reporting to his clients is becoming an ever more important part of ‘the service’. “Farmers are more analytical now and want to know how much manure has been spread or what weight of bales has come out of a field,” he said.

“We need to be able to offer a transparent and friendly service that is backed up by hard data.

“With Q Companion I can either show a farmer the app on my phone or I can email screen shots of the job report. It’s easy and can be done anywhere using my phone, so it saves me and the business a lot of time and gives our clients more information about the work we do,” he concluded.