Technology is constantly changing the way many things are done both in the day-to-day life of people and the way businesses operate, and the primary sector is no different. But with literally millions of apps now available how do you navigate the tech tsunami?
Dairy farmers are no strangers to data. Mobile technology means many carry their business around in their pocket and are constantly connected to what is happening on the farm.
Head of ANZ Dairy Kellie Burbidge says dairy farmers are increasingly interested in how data and information can help them ensure best practice, analyse their business and improve profitability, but in terms of adoption – New Zealand is at the beginning of the tech journey which promises some pretty impressive opportunities.
“The next agricultural revolution is upon us and the use of technology can help make dairy farmers more efficient which ultimately means being more profitable,” Kellie says.
“Imagine a day when a cow can send the farmer a text message to say she is about to calve and needs to come into the shed, or when a tractor can work through the night using GPS mapping of the farm.”
Dairy makes up a significant part of ANZ’s Agri-business, and coming off the back of a tough cycle the focus now is on supporting customers to future proof the sector and build resilience.
Financial capability is an industry challenge. Dairy NZ has calculated that the industry’s profitability could rise by $1 billion a year, or about $1000 a hectare, if financial literacy and management capabilities were improved*.
“Farmers are looking for ways to help them become more profitable with fewer resources and less environmental impact,” Kellie says.
Recent research from ANZ Rural Economist Con Williams looked at some of the apps aimed at improving the bottom line.
“In the interests of sharing ideas and the new technology being used across the various primary sectors, we took a look at some of the apps being used by various businesses,” he says.
The research grouped apps into six categories and focused on the core functions of each app to highlight what is available in the marketplace to help improve management practises.
“We can see real potential from the melding of tech savvy operators and new technology that is being applied to a wide range of management practices in the primary sector. There are a whole range of benefits, but essentially it’s about the ease of doing business, being more efficient/productive, making better decisions, mitigating risks, meeting compliance requirements like health & safety and environmental regulations, and ultimately improving the bottom-line,” Con explains.
In the past few years there has been growth in the number of apps used to record a range of core farm management information, manage tasks and staff, and meet regulatory requirements.
This is largely due to a move from paper to digital based record keeping, but equally the changing landscape of farm ownership, increasing complexities within many businesses and rising compliance requirements are all areas of opportunity.
“A data rich approach to decision making is a different approach from decision making based on intuition,” Kellie Burbidge says, “better information can help famers make better decisions and ultimately achieve their business goals.”
While technology can’t do everything, it presents an opportunity for passionate and innovative New Zealand farmers to reinvigorate their business and continue to produce quality products for customers around the world.
You can read more on the apps available in the ANZ Agri Focus June 2017 (PDF 501KB).