David Poole says having a fully digitised footprint, on a secure platform is going to be a game changer for the farmer.
“Everybody in New Zealand who’s farming more than 20 hectares needs a Farm Environmental Plan or Freshwater Farm Plan by 2025. It is likely that farming activities will be linked to those plans. Those plans are not just about the farmer, but about the catchment as well,” he says.
Paterson says that the traditional farm plan written or Word and Excel that would go off to the council and sit in the corner added no real value to the farmer. There is also a huge amount of on-farm intellectual property in a plan.. this needs to stay mostly in the hands of the farmer.
“But the moment you go digital with MyEnviro and then joining up with Adroit’s sensors, that digital information is sitting on that plan – it can be a storyboard and it can be updated and you can check on it and you can see from the dashboard what’s going on with the sensors at any given time.
“That becomes much more of value to a farmer – rather than setting up an analog feed for just a bit of compliance, the data becomes part of a story. And there’s many people now in farming that want a piece of that, whether it’s a producer group, whether it’s a consumer, whether it’s a regulator, whether it’s a catchment, a lot of people want parts of that information,” he said.
The other thing is that if you have a detailed digital farm environmental plan, then an auditor on behalf of the council can audit that plan and see when fertiliser was applied, how much was applied, and where it was applied, through digital tracking.
“Farmers are instinctively really good land managers. We’ve always said that the best farmer used to be the most instinctive farmer, but now we think the best farmer is the farmer that’s got really good instinct, and outstanding information. And so, we’re putting those two things together and that’s the new form of excellence in farming, we think.”
Paterson says that access to that data will accelerate learning because it’s going to show cause and effect, not just policy or rules.
“You’ve got a nitrogen cap at the moment of 190 kilos of nitrogen per hectare per year. So, at some stage you’ve got to use the data and change your practices if you exceed that. Now we’re not running around saying “stop dairying”, we’re just saying that if everybody has the right information then the right decisions will be made.