Good farm records have helped to relieve a South Island farming business of some of the effects of getting through a Mycoplasma bovis infection, reports FarmIQ Systems Ltd, a software company.
Darryn Pegram, the company’s chief executive, says farmers want to do the right thing by the environment, animal welfare, biosecurity and staff safety, but many are hampered by a lack of the necessary systems and skills.
“Farmers are increasingly asked to report on every aspect of their operations, for example animal welfare, environment management and health and safety. The time burden of compliance is starting to take a toll on farmers.”
Pegram says farmers now need an unprecedented level of skill to record and measure the many variables that prove their business’s compliance.
“Business Insider Intelligence (a research service) estimates that 1 million data points will be generated every day on farms by 2022, compared to only 100,000 in 2014 – a vast amount of data to manage.”
He believes the ultimate solution is for NZ agriculture to settle on a common platform for collecting, analysing and presenting data in a form that proves farmers are compliant, adds value to their business and creates more value for ‘NZ Inc’.
“This is why FarmIQ is stepping up as the national platform for farm reporting, analysis, compliance and quality assurance,” Pegram says.
The company this month formally launched a partnership with the rural supply company Farmlands: it rolled out its SafeFarm health and safety software system.
“FarmIQ is a clearing house that receives data from multiple sources,” Pegram says. “Used in the right way, it can help farmers ensure optimal use of inputs to maximise farm outputs and ultimately profit, and to minimise waste, overuse and the environmental degradation that can result.”
Other pastoral companies using FarmIQ include LandCorp and Synlait.
FarmIQ provides a means for Synlait to validate its Lead with Pride certification system. It provides Synlait’s farmers with management data and an auditable trail proving they comply with the dairy company’s environmental, health, safety and animal welfare requirements.
Pegram says that as the data demands on farmers get more complex -- to include, say, greenhouse gas emissions, stock movement, riparian planting and nutrient losses -- FarmIQ provides a ‘one stop’ insight into a farm’s performance within these rules.
“For farmers having to comply with new standards on gases and nutrients, our system enables them to generate auditable reports assuring them and their customers that their efforts are sustainable and can be proven.”
As farmers collect more data they can also “become even smarter and more sustainable” using FarmIQ industry-wide, says Pegram.
“FarmIQ already has 40 million animal weights in the system, and we know every aspect of 6 million animals, including 30 million animal treatments. The potential exists to use this data for predicting farm performance and recommending more sustainable farming outcomes using artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“The effectiveness of certain practices and treatments can be verified against big data sets, rather than trying to extrapolate from relatively tiny, isolated field trials.”
Pegram says no other company has developed such an all-encompassing system for farmers.
“FarmIQ is the needle that threads together all this technology and the data it collects, into something usable on farm and beyond.”
FarmIQ is a farm management software company that services 2000 farms NZ-wide. It holds on record at least 40 million animal weights and 30 million animal health treatments.