Farmer confidence is precariously low this spring, with a combination of government policies, poor media attention and M. bovis casting a dark shadow over the pastoral sector.A recent Federated Farmers survey suggests farmer confidence has fallen, with a net 39% of farmers pessimistic about their industry’s future. "Farmers feel they are being attacked from all sides," says Darryn Pegram, head of software company, FarmIQ. "They are increasingly being asked to report on every aspect of their operations, from animal welfare, to environment management, and health and safety. The time burden of compliance is starting to take a real toll on farmers. Farmers want to do the right thing, but many are frustrated by the lack of systems available to prove they are doing so."
Pegram says "the irony is that the ability for farmers to record and measure the many variables needed to prove compliance has never been greater."
"Business Insider Intelligence estimates are that 1.0 million data points will be generated every day on farm by 2022, compared to only 100,000 in 2014- it is an eye watering amount of data to manage."
He said "the ultimate solution is for New Zealand agriculture to settle on a common platform for collecting, analysing and presenting data in a form that not only proves farmers are compliant, but also adds value to their business as well as creating more holistic value for New Zealand Inc."
"It is for this reason FarmIQ is stepping up as the national platform for farm reporting, analysis, compliance, and quality assurance."
September marks the official launch of FarmIQ’s partnership with rural supply company Farmlands with the roll out its SafeFarm health and safety software system.
“FarmIQ is really a clearing house that receives data from multiple sources. Used in the right way, it can help farmers ensure optimal use of those inputs, to maximise farm outputs and ultimately profit, whilst minimising waste, overuse and the resulting environmental degradation that can occur."
Some major players in the pastoral sector are already on board with FarmIQ, including LandCorp, Synlait and Farmlands.
For Synlait, FarmIQ provides a means to validate the company’s Lead with Pride certification system. It provides Synlait’s farmers with valuable farm management information, and a fully auditable trail proving they are leading the way in all aspects of environmental, health, safety and animal welfare management.
As the data demands on farmers get more complex, to include things like greenhouse gas emissions, stock movement, riparian planting and nutrient losses, FarmIQ provides a 'one stop' insight to a farm’s performance within these new, emerging limitations.
"For farmers having to comply with new standards around gases and nutrients, FarmIQ’s ability to generate auditable reports gives both them and their customers peace of mind the efforts to be sustainable, can be proven."
As more farmers collect more data, the power to become even smarter and more sustainable using FarmIQ on an industry wide basis also grows.
“FarmIQ already has 40 million animal weights in the system, and we know every aspect of 6 million animals, and that includes 30 million animal treatments.
"The potential to use this sort of data for predicting farm performance and recommending more sustainable farming outcomes using artificial intelligence and machine learning is very exciting.
"The effectiveness of certain practices and treatments can be verified against such big data sets, rather than trying to extrapolate from relatively tiny, isolated field trials."
Pegram said "no other country has managed to develop such an all-encompassing system for farmers to use.Really FarmIQ is the needle that threads all this technology and data it collects together, into something usable on farm, and beyond.”