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  • Scott Yoho

Recording your data, hands free on the farm

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

On the Farmbrite blog we talk a lot about how easy it is to collect farm and ranch data in Farmbrite. You can even use the Farmbrite mobile app to enter information – on your iPhone – from the field, even offline. But some typing is involved. Unfortunately, not all of us are as efficient at typing on our phones as our kids (or grand kids).

If you’re not wild about typing, you can dictate info into Farmbrite using speech-to-text functionality that’s built into today’s computer and phone operating systems. It can save time compared to typing with your thumbs on a phone, and it turns out it can be really useful on your laptop or desktop computer, too.

If you’re like me, you probably know this functionality is there, but just haven’t gotten around to using it in Farmbrite. Here are some tips to get you started.


Wherever you’d like to type, whether you’re in the Farmbrite iPhone app or something else, click where you want the text to appear and a cursor appears there indicating it’s ready for me to enter something.

Then, to begin dictation, click on the microphone icon. It appears to the left of the spacebar and I’ve circled it below.

Now start talking. When you’re finished, click on the keyboard icon at the bottom of your screen:

Again, you’ve likely done this before, but maybe not in Farmbrite. Sometimes we need a reminder to move computer or phone techniques from one application to another.

Mac Computers

While speaking into your phone really beats trying to type with your thumbs, it turns out that this dictation functionality can be pretty handy on your laptop or desktop computer, too. But since there isn’t a “microphone” key on your computer’s keyboard, discovering how to get it to work can take a few more steps.

To use voice dictation on your Mac, click wherever you want to enter text within Farmbrite (as we did above). Then you can choose from two ways to begin dictation:

  • Press the Fn (Function) key twice, or

  • Click the Edit menu and select “Start Dictation.”

Choose one, then begin speaking and your text will appear. When you’re done speaking, click “Done.”

For more information, including how to control your Mac using your voice instead of a keyboard and track pad, and how to work with different languages, check out this Apple support link.

Windows Computers

To start dictating on your Windows 10 computer or laptop, click where you want the text to appear. Next press the Windows logo key + H to open the dictation toolbar. To stop dictating at any time, say “Stop dictation.”’

If the dictation toolbar doesn’t appear, you may need to turn on online speech recognition here:

Go to Start > Settings > Privacy > Speech

You can learn more about using dictation in these Windows support articles:

The second article also provides a list of commands you can use with your computer to move around the page, enter punctuation and symbols, and switch languages.

Have an older version of Windows? While I didn’t have a Windows 8 computer on hand to try it out myself, I did find this Windows video showing how to use speech recognition in Windows 8.1.

Use in Farmbrite Farm Management Software

Not sure where you might use this functionality in Farmbrite?

You might dictate notes into your schedule and add tasks to be completed (or make notes about their completion). Specific information about your livestock or crops could be recorded, from changing cattle feed and grazing areas to what nutrients and treatments you’re using on a particular crop.

Anything to do with money, from purchases and expenses to sales, can be quickly captured this way. You might dictate notes within your contacts or capture information regarding your machinery including needed repairs and maintenance.

In short, any bit of ranch or farm information that might come in useful later can be entered by voice into Farmbrite.

Closing Thoughts

If you haven’t tried this before in Farmbrite, I encourage you to try it. When it’s easy to capture notes, you will capture more notes. And whether you use this information for your organic certification application – or something entirely different – it’s always better to have “too much” info and background then not enough.

If you’re not currently using Farmbrite on your ranch or farm, you can explore it and hands-free data entry at no charge. Try Farmbrite for free.


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