Large agricultural companies always suffered from the lack of control over the operations on fields. There are more complication in counties where large agricultural holdings operate, LatAm, Russia, Ukraine and Australia. How can you get sufficient control over the operations spread when they are over 250,000 acres. What about a million or even two million acres.
New technologies make revolutionary changes in agricultural business. GPS helps much in vehicle control, different sensors help in operations on the fields and in addition to operational control companies order post season audit.
GPS and on-field sensors are quite popular control elements, while the post season audit is rather a corporate solution for mid and large agricultural holdings, giving an additional level of assurance to the shareholders that operations are being carried out according to required standards and there is no misappropriation of harvest.
The post season audit can be focused on production technology improvement (does operations follow technologies and what can be done to improve operations);on misappropriation of assets (studies differences between expected yield and the actual yield), but usually the audit combines both studies.
The audit is held by an independent third party; usually it is agricultural a management consultancy or a big audit firms (e.g.: Big4 audit firms).
Auditors utilize two major sources of information: company records about operations, harvest, technologies, ect. plus external information including seasonal satellite images, vegetation patterns, weather history, etc. and comparing company records to independent information in such a way that allows auditors to identify the dates when particular operations on the fields were completed, identify fields where lower level of fertilizers was applied and, of course, investigate the differences between forecasted and actual yields.
As a result of the audit, companies receive at least two documents: a recommendation on how company operations meet the required standards and a management report with suggestions about what can be improved in relation to the companies operations and/or standards (best varieties of seed, optimal fertilizers, etc). Sometimes the audit scope includes a report that describes differences between forecasted and the actual yield.
Even though control over operations remains to be a huge problem in middle and large sized agricultural companies; there will be a high demand for new technologies and tools designed to solve this issue in the nearest future.