Hamish Munro

Hamish Munro
Dec 10, 2019 · 4 min read

Through this series we have been looking at how farmers can kick start their agtech experience and ensure that they are making the most informed decisions as possible to maximise productivity and efficiency gains on farm.

Diagram 1. By adopting new tech at the top of the curve rather than persisting, influences productivity gains over time.

Adopting technology early certainly has its advantages in productivity over time, if correct choices and timings are made. The above diagram shows a series of productivity gain curves (all identically the same), with a different starting point in time. By adopting early and continually reviewing efficiency gains (to ensure that the gains are not diminishing) of the tech, provides significant long-term gains for the operation.

This is similar to reviewing data gaps within your operation. Starting to collect data early and sometimes at random, will provide similar gains and more in-depth context into the future. Developing a farm-scale agtech approach can be daunting, as every farm is very different and the diverse mix of solutions can be seen as a positive (allowing very specific options) or a negative (hmmmmm, to hard, won’t start now, I’ll wait until its easier), when planning for agtech adoption.

An approach that can assist this planning process is by creating a ‘Big Picture’ plan of where and how, you see the future of your operation. This then forms a requirements document of the data feeds, that will assist development of the adoption and deployment path.

Essentially working from the outside in, or through the key metrics that influence large sections of your business are the obvious starting choice. The below diagram can be viewed as ‘The Plan’ from a traditional approach of agtech adoption.

Diagram 2. The Solution Mix, Where all of your key Agtech and digital solutions only influence immediately neighboring solutions not the Big Picture. “The Black hole”

Once you have initiated the plan and are building out the solution mix, keep in mind that there are critical components/ solutions that can influence a number of other operations, if the data is connected and not just adopted.

Thus, if this original plan is not reviewed and updated then the farm data is effectively locked in silo’s or in a Black hole. Whilst there still is great benefit to your business, there is a potential lost opportunity by not leveraging the data or solution to improve overall oversight of the operation.

When you are at this stage, you have built a certain amount of knowledge base or contact list within the agtech space to better critique the original plan (when starting out, you didn’t know, what you didn’t know).

By only focusing on operational oversight within an enterprise (Livestock, cropping, etc.), will allow significant productivity growth per enterprise, but may still limit overall maximum opportunity (data now constrained in larger silos) for your business. (See diagram 3)

Diagram 3. The Solution Mix, Where all of your key Agtech and digital solutions influenece at an enterprise level solutions not the Big Picture.

As a farmer I grappled with this issue of how can any data set from across my entire farm and supply chain be channeled back for a more meaningful and complete picture.

Transitioning from diagram 3 to diagram 4, traditionally wasn’t an option and so there were always data gaps that couldn’t connect to improve operational oversight and overall efficiency.

To really achieve the data gold mine situation where all data is able to be accessed for a number of variable situations (productivity, compliance, planning, historic review, bench-marking, etc.), a new approach too data is required.

Diagram 4. The Solution Mix, Where all of your key Agtech and digital solutions influenece at an operational level solutions not the Big Picture. “The Gold mine”

After a significant review of existing options available, the results were all pretty much closer to diagram 3 than diagram 4. We have developed Pairtree from the ground up to only provide one very simple service to the farmers and the agtech ecosystem.

This service is to centralise data that is related but traditionally not connected.

This effectively means that any data set from across your entire farm can be centralised and utilised through Pairtree and its suite of Dashboards.

Our approach then allows leading agtech solutions to be laser focused on supplying the greatest service and solution within their field of excellence. As the data demand is growing, many providers are getting caught up in trying to spread services horizontally, which can dilute the overall key offering, rather than complementing it.

By continually reviewing new agtech options and your existing suite, your next purchase might now have a 10X return, rather than a 3X return if the data can complement multiple solutions.

Seeing related data next to each other provides a consistent reference point to build a decision support process or single source of truth.

A second part of the Pairtree offering is that data can be pushed or pulled in two ways, ensuring that a data silo isn’t created and that if solution providers require external data sources, then we can populate that data from your farm.

For more information please contact us?

Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Hamish