Data & systems project

The challenge

Accessing data to support on-farm decisions can be problematic. Even farmers using sophisticated software need to manually capture much of the data needed. Where tools do exist, there is a lack of standardisation in the outputs across the sector.

The status quo

Approximately only 10% of farm businesses use data to any great extent, because they are either unaware of the potential value or due to the challenges of data collection. Use of data may also be impacted by inability to analyse outputs or a lack of confidence to use the information to make changes.

Project objectives

  1. Increase the use of data within the sector.
  2. Encourage the use of benchmarking to drive measurement and understanding of animal and farm performance.
  3. Create a compelling digital online resource and decision support tools for farmers and rural professionals.

Evidence

Research by RMPP in 2014 showed that farmers have a genuine desire for more opportunities to upskill. Certain areas were lacking and frustration about not knowing how to access information meant that opportunities to make better on-farm decisions were being missed. The research found farmers lacked awareness of existing services and available knowledge to support best-practice. A structured learning process for sector participants was also lacking.

RMPP tools for farmers and rural professionals

RMPP has developed the following solutions to support farmers and rural professionals:

  • FeedSmart App: Tool to help you make instant and accurate decisions about feed management while you’re in the paddock. Access from a smartphone, tablet or computer. Find out more here.
  • Knowledge Hub:  A website with a wide range of material from industry experts to help you get the information you need to get ahead. Find out more here.
  • Learning Modules: Videos, calculators, tools and information located in the Knowledge Hub. Find out more here.
  • KPI Calculators: Tools to help set your measures of farm performance. Available by creating a user account on the B+LNZ website here.
  • BizPlan Tool: A business planning tool to help you identify your goals and set actions to move your business towards them.  Available by creating a user account on the B+LNZ website here.
  • Sheep short to long scan calculator: Scanning percentages for ewes can be recorded in two ways - Short Scanning or Long Scanning. If you have only have a short scanning %, use this tool to calculate a theoretical long scanning figure based on your short scanning figures. While this will not be as accurate as a physical long scan, it will give a very good indication of an equivalent long scan %.

FeedSmart App

The FeedSmart App helps farmers make instant and accurate decisions around feed management while they are in the paddock.

Compatible with any computer, tablet or smartphone, the app helps farmers estimate the feed requirements for sheep and cattle at any time of the year and for different levels of production.

FeedSmart brings together a raft of variables to give farmers instant information on nutritional requirements of different classes of livestock, feed values and feed allocation.

Simple tools for day-to-day feed allocation include how long a paddock of feed will last, the size of the break needed to meet nutritional requirements and stocking rates.

While the app is set to standard levels of feed quality, topography, supplement quality and animal size, farmers can customise the settings to suit their operations.

The app is available free of charge at and once downloaded, it works offline anywhere, anytime a device is turned on. Download the FeedSmart app here.   Read the FeedSmart user guide here.