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What really drives profitability on pastoral farms – the right story

This is the second article in a series reflecting on the building blocks of profitability on pastoral farms in New Zealand. My particular interest is in sheep and beef farming, occupying 70% of New Zealand’s pastoral land. This article focusses on the farm system – a fascinating animal-pasture game of matching the ever-changing pasture growth […]

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What really drives profitability in pastoral agriculture?

Unique, profitable, and complex New Zealand pastoral agriculture is uniquely based around grazing pasture in the paddock while it is growing. In most countries agriculture is relentlessly dependent on diesel, machinery and chemicals to establish forage crops, spray weeds, harvest them, transport them, wrap them in plastic for storage, then fed them out often in […]

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The case for smarter tech in cattle and sheep breeding

My first job in livestock performance recording was with the Genetics Section, as it was called, at Ruakura Research Centre in New Zealand. I worked part time while studying at university, transferring research trial data off the government mainframe on reel-to-reel tape, and writing inbreeding coefficient calculation software. The genetics section was based in an […]

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How on-farm data and analysis can support credence attributes

Can on-farm technologies and “big data” support food and fibre product attributes that consumers value? In a previous article I noted a Hartman Group study that suggested that consumers are interested in attributes other than just the look and price of a product, wanting to know: What ingredients are in the food or beverage product […]

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What do consumers know about your supply chain?

Consumers. A jaded and cynical bunch. I include myself in that statement. Just last weekend, a lovely salesperson was extolling the praises of a new smoothie product (“would you like to try it sir, it’s packed with fruit”), while I was remembering comments from my children about the level of sugar in smoothies and trying […]

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Getting the most from farm data

Increasing pressure from commodity returns, input costs and environmental compliance means that farming today relies on consistent, quality decision-making. Good information, viewed properly to gain insights, is the life-blood of great farm decisions. Unfortunately, the most useful data is often hardest to collect and interpret. Pasture information relies on pasture walks (or drives); stock condition […]

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Agricultural Tech Reloaded

MobileTECH 2016 in Rotorua, New Zealand was a showcase and discussion forum for the adoption of smart technology in primary industries: agriculture, horticulture, and forestry. 300 attendees from a broad spread of primary sector organisations and technology companies spent two days discussing the application of all things sensor, wireless, and cloud. I thought it worth […]

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Four ways to make your farming app engaging

So you’ve decided to build a mobile app for your rural customers or users. You have spent time on the overall value proposition, deciding how your app will deliver enough value to your users that they will spend the requisite time – and money – to use your service. No doubt you’re also modelling the […]

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Applying Information Science to agriculture

Sunset or sunrise, traditional or industrialised, niche or commodity? There sometimes appear to be as many opinions and forecasts for agriculture as there are commentators. When my colleagues and I started Rezare Systems in 2004 we made the decision that we would focus on agriculture despite the forecasts, and on ways we can contribute to […]

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How changes in mobile might affect your farming software

We’ve all seen the explosive growth in the use of mobile devices, and it may have encouraged you to think about using mobile software: to reach farmers, enhance your product, or arm your field team. That same growth has also seen changes in behaviour and people’s expectations from mobile tools, and it is worth considering […]

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The next step in farmer-mediated data sharing

Agricultural data: who holds it, who is using it, and who “owns” or controls it has been recurring news worldwide, featuring in places as diverse as Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, the American Farm Bureau Federation, ABC Rural in Australia, and European Union projects. A quick summary of the opinions expressed are that increasing use […]

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Decision making in the face of El Niño

Seasonal weather forecasting is a tricky thing – forecasters don’t necessarily have a great track record. This year is interesting as international researchers and the Crown Research Institute NIWA have provided clear, early forecasts for a strong El Niño event. Rezare Systems’ Farm Systems Analyst Graeme Ogle explores the implications for farmers and tactics they […]