Tuesday, 14 March 2017 12:55

Innovation pitch for chance to help

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Susan Bell-Booth with the Mix Maker for teat sprays. Susan Bell-Booth with the Mix Maker for teat sprays.

Fonterra is working with innovation partners whose technology offerings can help farmers manage their businesses better.

The co-op’s Activate 2.0 programme is designed to support this initiative. Run by Fonterra Farm Source, Activate 2.0 is a competition open to third party innovators designed to help Fonterra’s farmers lower input costs, save time and/or increase productivity.

Earlier this month, seven innovators were invited to Fonterra’s head office in Auckland to pitch to judges.

Three finalists were chosen: Regen Ltd, Agrismart and Wikldeye; the winning entrant will be announced later this week.

Regen’s offering is an automated, science based, daily scheduling of recommendations for water and effluent, and a nitrogen use calculator, available direct to the farmer via a mobile app.

The aim is to make it easy for farmers to accurately manage water, effluent and nitrogen use so as to minimise water waste and nutrient leaching and save power and fertiliser costs.

Regen says its system also captures the on-field data and activity in report form for farm environment plans and audits, without the farmer having to manually do it all themselves.

Agrismart has developed people management software designed especially for the dairy industry to reduce breaches in paying the minimum hourly rate to salaried workers.

The timesheet software records the number of hours worked in a pay period and then calculates and alerts the farmer if any top-up is required in that pay period, ensuring they pay the employees the correct amount.

Wildeye is offering a soil moisture monitoring device that optimises use of irrigation to support water-use obligations and ultimately reduce costs and raise efficiency.

The device measures soil moisture and displays it in the cloud with an intuitive interface. It allows farmers to make better use of their available water and know when the soils are too saturated for effluent management.

Wildeye says it is a simple, robust and affordable product for metering remote sensors that works ‘out of the box’.

Fonterra Farm Source chief operating officer Miles Hurrell says he is impressed with the new technology on offer.

“Farmers and those associated with farming businesses are demanding more,” he told Dairy News.

So Fonterra recently launched Agrigate to make the lives of farmers easier.

“We are keen to pool data from different sources and make our shareholders’ lives easy.”

He says Agrigate will work with the Activate 2.0 participants to help take the technology to the co-op’s farmer shareholders.

 

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