New tool for farm soft­ware

Agri­gate will al­low dairy farm­ers to ac­cess key in­for­ma­tion about their farm­ing busi­ness, re­ports Ger­ald Piddock.

Matamata Chronicle - - What’s On -

‘‘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.

MARK TAY­LOR FAIRFAX NZ

LIC Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Wayne Mc­Nee. Wayne Mc­Nee

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