One piece of technology to invest in now… or very soon

Agtech is a busy space, and the options are overwhelming and seemingly endless. The Agri-food technology market is constantly evolving and there is a reluctance to be a first mover. However, a few considerations might help farmers make that first pivotal step. Keep in mind not all products or services will make money. However, they may create efficiency today and generate opportunities in the future. A great example of this is the The Farm Management Software (FMS).

A good FMS will centralise, manage, and optimise the production activities and operations of the farm. Initially developed to collate and facilitate daily farm related activities, they are somewhat criticised by farmers as the data often ended in one place whilst being needed in another place – for the accountant, the marketer of the bank manager. Also criticised for being a significant ongoing cost with an ambiguous cost benefit.

However, if we consider efficiency, FMS automates a proportion of recording and collation of farm data, improving task management, timekeeping and providing basic analysis of activities to track expenses and budgets. A typical yearly subscription may cost as much as $4k/year. Anecdotally, more than 157 hours are spent per year (Cost equivalent factoring an hourly rate of $25.41), manually entering data post activity; an opportunity for efficiency.

Positively, FMS are continuing to improve the value proposition for users.  Applications and platforms can read and write data, pushing and pulling packets of data between each system via an API (Will API change my life?). This creates a solution that is better and more useful than what we have today. More specifically, this means that the same pieces of information or data can be in multiple places; the place for record keeping, the place for farm financial management and accounting programs, and even alongside yield data or procurement systems and linked marketing and budget tools.

From a different perspective, we hear regularly that the greater transparency from agricultural industries is expected in the near future. Globally, consumers are expecting greater transparency and we are noticing a real trend set by corporations, the finance sector and global market. Data expectations range considerably from demonstrating a position of “Net zero”, enabling the measurement and trading of carbon, access to premium markets, or demonstrating sustainability and industry compliance.

Transparency will be enabled by data, where a proportion will be generated on-farm. FMS is well placed, as the primary data collection and collation point, where collaboration within the farm gate will benefit collaboration beyond.

For example, relying on accurate data records and linking data via the interchange functions that API deliver will open opportunities to examine all production data simultaneously. For example, examining historic yield data long with a recommendation for mid-season N application makes sense. Trends within FMS is enabling this without the need to log into multiple portals. Longer term, the FMS proposition and service offering will continue to evolve to meet the increase in upstream data demands. However, there will be a greater emphasis on integration that combine many data streams to create new and deeper insights or solve specific and proprietary needs.

Check out current integration offerings at their individual website or ask the question of when this type of functionality will be available. The (near) future brings more options to users including dashboard styled FMS options with significant integration lists.


Author | Brooke Sauer, IntellectAg