High-tech tool designed to benefit shareholders

Farmlands shareholders will soon have access to innovative technology that will allow them to better record information and give greater precision to their operations.

Good weather and a little bit of luck may be crucial in the farming business but data is becoming one of the most important crops an agribusiness can reap.

Farmlands is playing its part in fuelling the revolution of on-farm data by working with Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) – a customer relationship management application that delivers shareholder and industry information in real-time to any laptop, tablet or smartphone.

More than 140 Farmlanders across the country will be equipped with shock-resistant, state of the art tablets installed with D365 in the coming weeks. Technical Field Officers, Technical Advisors and Sales Managers will use observations from the devices to provide improved forecasting and greater seasonal, crop and stock insights to shareholders through data analytics.

The online dashboard will give Farmlands shareholders the information they need to make faster and smarter decisions.

Leeston-based Farmlands Technical Field Officer, Ellen Condon is trialling the ultra-fast device and has seen firsthand how the D365 system can record temperature, stock levels, amount of stock sold, weight of grain and wool produced – all numbers which can help Farmlands gain a deeper understanding of our shareholders’ businesses.

“It really personalises it and enables us to make improved onfarm decisions,” she says.

“People often underestimate the variability within a few weeks of crop growth. Recently I was able to use my tablet to capture photographs of a range of weeds in a wheat crop and instantaneously send the images to our Agronomy team for an extra opinion on spray options. This meant together we could examine the crop in real-time.”

Ellen says she is only in her second season on the job, so being able to record data on-thego and have historical information “in-hand” is invaluable.

“It streamlines day-to-day decisionmaking, meaning Farmlands shareholders can focus on the activities that drive their profitability.”

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is designed to manage and maintain customer relationships, track engagements and sales and deliver actionable data – all in one place.

Looking ahead, the integration of new technologies with other gadgets offers exciting possibilities for Farmlands shareholders.

Farmlands Acting Director of Technology, Matt McGrath says that by working with Microsoft, Farmlands is able to offer shareholders the latest technology while also looking for ways to innovate further in the future.

“We know that the tablet will be popular because of the positive feedback we’ve already had from those trialling the technology – and because our farmers are amongst the best in the world when it comes to the adoption of technologies that enhance animal health, environmental sustainability and efficient farm management.”

Matt says that recent changes in technology offer an exciting outlook for the local primary sector, so long as rural co-operatives, like Farmlands, continue to evolve.

“New Zealand has always been a great place to farm but we can only stay ahead of the game by ensuring our farmers have the latest tech solutions to help them be more productive.”

He says Farmlands is in the process of combining relevant parts of its technology offerings to provide its rural shareholders with a range of easy-to-use and cost-effective online tools that offer better insights into their operations.

“These days farming is truly a technology business,” Matt says.

The D365-installed tablets will be used by Farmlands Technical Field Officers, Technical Advisors and Sales Managers from October this year.