New tool for farm software
Agrigate will allow dairy farmers to access key information about their farming business, reports Gerald Piddock.
‘‘Having data in one place and working in real time makes it easier to make comparisons, see trends and make better management decisions.’’
A new online tool will soon be available to help farmers improve their farm performance.
Called Agrigate, the software enables farmers to access their information about their farming business in one place, identify areas where they can benchmark their performance and manage their environmental information.
Agrigate was created by Fonterra and Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC).
It was developed after requests from farmers for a single site to access core information, such as milk production and quality, herd data, pasture data and local weather forecasts.
The cloud-based product was accessible on mobile and tablet devices.
There would be automatic data feeds initially from LIC and Fonterra, but other companies that had software applications such as Ravensdown were also looking to come on board.
LIC chief executive Wayne McNee said a prototype was trialled last year on 50 farms in August and was then refined and tested again using 15 farmers just before Christmas.
‘‘It’s to help our owners run more profitable businesses.’’
LIC and Fonterra started working on prototypes 18 months ago and formed Agrigate, which owns the product.
‘‘Having data in one place and working in real time makes it easier to make comparisons, see trends and make better management decisions.
‘‘A key outcome will be enabling farmers to make the most efficient use of their resources – which is important in both tough and better times.’’
The software used tiles with each tile representing a different data provider such as Fonterra or LIC.
‘‘There are tiles on the platform and each tile represents a data provider, so there is one for MINDA, the Fonterra app, and it’s up to the farmer to decide which of the offerings he or she chooses to use.’’
McNee said they also were in talks with other companies and groups such as Cash Manager Rural to allow the data to auto- matically go into the user’s budgeting system and DairyNZ to link the tool up with DairyBase to improve its benchmarking capabilities.
‘‘While it’s a launched product, it’s still got a lot of development to do. We are going to continue to develop it and add more functionality to it over time.’’
Agrigate will also contain a farm’s data around fertiliser rates and placement and effluent spreading.
It did not undertake any of the nutrient modelling that Overseer did, but McNee hoped that eventually Overseer would be included among the tiles the user could access.
‘‘We can see a situation once the data tools become more sophisticated where it will help farmers manage their effluent and fertiliser together with being able to measure their grass growth and what is happening with the climate.’’
McNee said they were still working out a price for the software, but it would be free for the first six months.
Some partners may also subsidise the cost of the software to farmers.
The software would be launched next month with feedback from farmers continuing to be part of its on-going development and additional features added as new data partners come on board.
LIC Chief Executive Wayne McNee. Wayne McNee