Fonterra & LIC investigating tech solution to improve farm performance


Fonterra and Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) are teaming up to develop a new online technology solution designed to provide farmers with a view of their operation in one place.

The two farmer-owned Co-operatives are combining resources, knowledge and expertise to look at the best way to bring together a farmer’s milk production and quality data, herd data, pasture data, local weather forecasts and more into one easy-to-use online portal.

Farmers will be able to see their private individual farm information in one place, allowing them to make faster and easier decisions about their farming operation.

In developing the new online tool Fonterra’s Farm Source team and LIC will be working with farmers to get their feedback on what they would like to see included.  A group of 50 farmers nationwide will be invited to trial a prototype this month and provide feedback. The aim is to make the tool available for all farmers, with the first release expected by the end of the year.

Fonterra Chief Operating Officer Farm Source Miles Hurrell says the tool is about responding to what farmers want - one place to access all the data sources they use, to improve on-farm performance.

“Currently farmers have lots of data sources, all developed in isolation,” Mr Hurrell says. “Farmers have asked for a way to bring all those data sources together in one place. This would reduce the need for double entry of data by farmers. It will also give them the ability to benchmark their farm against others using aggregated data, leading to more productivity and profitability.

“The technology is aimed at helping farmers trim costs and utilise their resources as efficiently as they can.”

LIC Chief Executive Wayne McNee says, “Today’s farmers have so much information to try to consider, and an ever-increasing range of technology on offer. Both can add huge value to a farming business, to support more informed decision making and improved profitability, but accessing and using the information to make decisions can be difficult.

“Farmers have told us they want simplicity, they want one place to see all their records and information, and they want it in real time.”

Mr McNee says it is critical to be linking in with other industry partners such as Fonterra to reduce duplication and capitalise on existing expertise and resources. The Co-ops are looking to work with others in the industry to maximise what could be delivered in the new farm performance system.