Over a decade ago, the Primary Growth Fund projects kicked off. The aim was to boost investment into new and innovative technology for farmers, which could be commercialised, helping grow the primary sector’s contribution to the economy.
Now at the start of a new decade, innovations like Ballance’s Mitagator™ nitrogen software and FarmIQ farm management software are evidence of the programme’s success, helping keep New Zealand agri-tech innovation at the front of the curve.
The modern farm now has almost 1 million data points generated every day, compared to only 100,000 in 2014. Without an encompassing means of capturing it all, this vast river of potentially valuable data runs the risk of disappearing into the ether.
Thanks to the investment of almost $120 million in both taxpayer and industry funds, New Zealand used the PGP opportunity to develop FarmIQ as the tool to turn the many bits and bytes of data our farms generate into actionable, informed and profit generating information for farmers.
Prior to FarmIQ, much of the data collection on farms was “vertical” in nature. It linked factors like fertiliser input to dry-matter output. But as we all know, farms are complex systems, with outputs being impacted by a wide variety of inputs. This is where FarmIQ comes in to play, as it has been developed to link the farm’s resources of land, people and livestock horizontally to each other. This provides the farmer with a better understanding of how farm decisions made about each of those resources will impact on the others and their overall outputs.
This approach to joining the dots between farm resource use helps to wipe the “app clutter” off farmers’ smartphones. It deletes those disparate apps that have not been able to integrate their respective data streams.
FarmIQ can be likened to the Smart TV that brings multiple technologies and platforms together under one skin, compared to yesterday’s old plasma TV that relies on an assortment of retro-fitted, bolt on technology of varying capacity and compatibility.
Ten years on, FarmIQ has proven it is possible to put farmers at the centre of their farm’s digital needs, with “enter once only” inputs, doing away with multiple data entry across multiple platforms.
Because every farm, and every farmer, is different, FarmIQ has evolved to offer levels of subscription commitment and complexity, enabling farmers to gradually adapt to digital inputs and systems. As an open platform, FarmIQ has drawn in multiple partners, whose farm generated data can be turned into valuable information. For example, Silver Fern Farm’s Eating Quality score which enhances the conventional kill sheet information.
Meanwhile, FarmIQ’s open platform offers “NZ Inc” the opportunity to tap into a powerful, wide reaching mine of information, enabling farmers to make informed decisions, and NZ to prove its provenance, purity, and traceability claims.