A Primary Growth Partnership (PGP) programme aiming to add over a billion dollars to New Zealand’s red meat sector has formally wound up, with expectations it will surpass it's long-term goals.
The FarmIQ PGP was one of the first PGP programmes to be launched in 2010, with the aim of improving the efficiency of the value chain in the red meat sector.
The $150 million programme included funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI), Silver Fern Farms and Landcorp, based around five key work areas of development. Those were farm performance, processing feedback and measurement, genetics, product development and FarmIQ software for on-farm use in decision-making.
At a special ministerial event held in Wellington last night to mark the end of the PGP’s FarmIQ’s tenure, Collier Isaacs chief executive of the FarmIQ PGP programme said hitting this milestone was a good time for the programme to take stock of its achievements over the past seven years.
“We now have new premium meat ranges on offer from Silver Fern Farms, and importantly there is a platform there for continuing to develop new products that will consistently meet consumers’ quality expectations and earn premium returns for farmers and the industry,” says Mr Isaacs.
“Meantime, sheep genetics suppliers now have access to cost effective measures of an animal’s potential to produce high quality meat, and understand their productivity potential much earlier in their life.”
International partnerships FarmIQ has undertaken, like the project to lift capability in Sri Lanka, are showing how New Zealand can export great value add through Agri-Tech solutions as well as high value food and fibre.
Speaking at the event, Minister of Agriculture Hon Damien O’Connor said “If New Zealand is to continue to flourish on the world stage then we need one plan for farmers that will enable them to prove to the world that our produce is clean, green and tasty. I hope FarmIQ will contribute to that one plan proposal.”
Farm businesses have also had the opportunity to access several new tools as part of the FarmIQ software developed through the FarmIQ PGP programme, enabling them to gain better insights into what does and does not work on their farm.
Darryn Pegram, FarmIQ Systems Limited chief executive said the programme is capable of bringing together all the separate strands of information and data a modern farm generates.
FarmIQ helps farmers understand the short- and long-term relationship between farm inputs including land, animals, staff and feed, and resulting outputs, namely milk production, fibre and meat.
“This focus on being neutral and open is critical. It gives farmers peace of mind as the information coming out of the programme is unbiased, and has their best farm business interests at heart.”
He said with farmers facing greater pressure to account for greenhouse gases, nutrient losses, stock welfare and location from both authorities and processors, FarmIQ has become something of a visionary system capable of putting farmers’ needs at the centre of the system and meeting those demands seamlessly and simply.
“When we set out to create a software system under the FarmIQ PGP programme, it came at a time when demands on farmers for reporting and compliance were only just starting to emerge,” says Mr Pegram. “In addition farmers are having to prove their farm methods are environmentally sustainable, whilst also being economically viable.
“Our commitment to software development, a relatively high-risk area, has proven fruitful, and it’s now starting to pay off for farmers, and ultimately for New Zealand as we validate the quality and genuineness of our food products.
“FarmIQ is the needle that threads all this technology and data together into something usable on farm, and beyond.”