Friday, 17 February 2017 12:00

Farmer gives Agrigate the tick of approval

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Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Duncan Coull (right) learns about Agrigate. Fonterra Shareholders Council chairman Duncan Coull (right) learns about Agrigate.

A new online tool launched today will be revolutionary in helping farmers improve their farm performance, says one of the farmers who took in the trial.

Agrigate will also allow farmers to benchmark these farm factors on a scale that they haven’t been able to in the past, a feature that has impressed Waikato farmer Bill Aubrey.

Developed by Fonterra Farm Source and LIC, Agrigate combines all the key data farmers need to make faster and smarter decisions on one, easy to use online dashboard.

Agrigate has been designed to help farmers plan ahead, using existing data to assess the interaction between different on-farm factors, such as weather conditions, animal health, milk production, financials, pasture cover and fertiliser applications. Agrigate will help farmers track what effect each factor has on the others so that they can plan accordingly.

“I can compare past and present, regional and national to see how I’m tracking and how I measure up compared 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, all on one single dashboard.”

A prototype of Agrigate was trialled with 70 farmers in August 2016 and feedback from this group helped to develop the tool further. Agrigate has been made for farmers in conjunction with farmers and on-going feedback will help the team develop new features that can make the tool even more useful.

For example, farmers will be able to see what impact factors like herd size; milking frequency and fertiliser use have on pasture cover, milk volume and quality, and milk solids production per hectare.

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.”

Agrigate will be featured at regional field days in March and the National Fieldays at Mystery Creek in June.

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