Tuesday, 28 February 2017 11:55

Online dashboard compares all farm results

Written by  Sudesh Kissun
Waikato farmer Bill Aubrey. Waikato farmer Bill Aubrey.

Farmers can now benchmark their farm performances on a national scale, thanks to a new online tool.

Launched by Fonterra and LIC, Agrigate combines all farm data on an online dashboard.

Waikato farmer Bill Aubrey, who trialled Agrigate, says it enables farmers to benchmark farm factors on a scale never before possible.

“I can compare past and present, regional and national, to see how I’m tracking and how I measure up to other same-system farms, even in my own area.

“Simply put, Agrigate takes the complexity of dairy analytics and turns it into a straightforward way to help me make smarter decisions and improve my bottom line,” Aubrey says.

He reckons there hasn’t been anything quite like it before.

“Agrigate streamlines the way I view and analyse my farm’s most important data. Combining information from multiple sources, it gives me a top-line view of everything I need, at any time and in real time, on one web page. Weather forecasts, pasture growth and cover, production data and more, is all on one single dashboard.”

Agrigate chief executive Tim Cutfield says the new online tool stitches together “all those great apps out there that are specific to a certain element of your farming system”.

“We are not trying to be all things to all people; we give farmers a choice of whichever tool they want to use.”

He gave an example of farmers combining data from LIC’s Minda and Fonterra’s Farm Source to get kgMS/animal/day.

With Minda, farmers can see animals contributing to the vat on a given day; with Farm Source data, they get data from the vat/day.

“Combine the two and you’ve got information you can’t get from either of those systems and that is where the value add is for farmers,” Cutfield says.

“You get even better insight into your business, compare with your peers on a regional or sub-regional or farm system type…. you can do all that through the platform.”

Cutfield says farmers will pay $30/month for a basic system subscription; add-ons will cost more.

Agrigate will be run by a five-member board -- two representatives each from LIC and Fonterra and one independent director.

LIC chief executive and Agrigate chairman Wayne McNee says 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 ultimate goal of this project is to support our farmers by giving them a tool to help maximise their on-farm performance, productivity and profitability.”

Fonterra Farm Source chief operating officer Miles Hurrell says as a simple, easy-to-use tool Agrigate is a great example of dairy industry innovation.

“It allows farmers to identify areas of their business where they are performing well and areas where they can improve.”

Hurrell says Fonterra and LIC – as co-ops – are working together to benefit their farmer owners.

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