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FarmIQ applies information technology to make a difference for farmers
Posted on 16-Jul-2015 09:45 | Tags Filed under: News

FarmIQ has been recognised for a project that has brought together Wellington IT capability and the company’s agribusiness expertise to make a difference for New Zealand farmers.

The farm technology company won the Discovering Gold category of the 2015 Wellington business awards with the FarmIQ System ‒ farm management software for the red meat industry.

The System has been developed to help the industry deliver consistently high-quality meat cuts to export markets and better profitability for farmers. “We see this as the key to developing sustainable returns for sheep, beef and deer farming, which is particularly important for long-term viability of hill country farming in New Zealand,” says FarmIQ chief executive Collier Isaacs.

FarmIQ contracted IT company Fronde, based on the Wellington Waterfront, to develop the software. The original brief was for over 1200 high-level user stories (each representing a user need that would be addressed through the software). The core functionality took 22 months to build and was completed in May 2014.

For individual farmers, the FarmIQ System is an information hub ‒ enabling comparisons and benchmarking of farm performance including meat quality; providing them with linkages to the red meat consumer; and supporting their planning and decision-making.

“The FarmIQ System shows what is possible when agribusiness expertise and networking is teamed with IT capability and leading-edge software solutions,” says Collier. “It’s providing farmers and the industry with some really good tools.”

“We’ve focused on making sure it’s simple, practical and relevant for farmers. We’ve worked closely with them at every step of the development.”

“The System is flexible so farmers can use it to help achieve their own goals. At its simplest they can use it as a handy diary and task planner on a mobile, and beyond that they can also use it to record a range of inputs and measurements of paddock and animal performance and then apply the analysis and reporting tools. It also includes an interactive farm map.”

“It is mostly used by drystock farmers, with some dairy farmers testing it. It is also useful for rural professionals who work with farmers, such as vets and advisors.”

“The System is being integrated with some specialist farm software, including Cashmanager Rural financial software and Farmax feed budgeting software so farmers only have to enter information once.”

FarmIQ was established by Silver Fern Farms, Landcorp Farming Limited and Tru-Test in 2010 and was awarded a funding grant through the Primary Growth Partnership in September 2010, which brought the Ministry for Primary Industries on board as a co-funder for seven years. The company is running five development projects, including the FarmIQ System.

FarmIQ employs 26 fulltime and part-time staff, including people based in Wellington and in regional centres.

The software development team also included Wellington company Pikselin which was subcontracted to provide user interface design and Wellington company E-Spatial which was sub-contracted to provide the geospatial elements. Through the development stages, FarmIQ has worked closely with companies manufacturing farm measuring devices and also specialist software to arrange data sharing.

As at end of January 2015, live animal numbers on the System were: 1,953,000 sheep; 280,000 cattle and 99800 deer.

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