AgFiniti system better fit for veggie farmer

By: Andrew Hobbs

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Users of the cloud platform developed by Ag Leader have taken the technology beyond its broadacre origins to generate real benefits

The AgFiniti cloud-based system can transfer data directly between computers without the need for USB transfer
The AgFiniti cloud-based system can transfer data directly between computers without the need for USB transfer

Managing his own and third party vegetable growing sites over a two hundred kilometre radius across north west Tasmania, farming contractor and manager Joe Cook has a challenging task ahead of him.

The sites he manages grow broccoli and cauliflower for Simplot, the company behind Birds Eye and Edgells, among other well-known brands, and where a day’s growth can make a major difference in profitability.

To help manage the task, Cook had adopted the SMS data management software package developed by Ag Leader – using it to combine information gathered from planting through to harvest in order to make better decisions.

With that experience in hand, Cook took the opportunity to trial the AgFiniti cloud-based system and found that it was a better fit for his needs than he had initially expected.

The first example of this was in building steering guidance lines for vehicles working in the paddock, with Cook using the platform to transfer them after a first pass with a tractor to strip-till ground.

The AgFiniti cloud-based system can transfer data directly between computers without the need for USB transfer

Before, Cook says, he would be copying the guidance lines from a computer to the planter tractors using a USB, whereas now, the data can be transferred directly from the desktop to all 15 computers – including vehicle displays and iPads – within the licence.

"Once we’ve done a tractor pass with the Ag Leader system and pushed the data to the AgFiniti cloud, we can look at the terrain and scope out any areas that aren’t going to grow particularly well, using the elevation data," he says.

This can be particularly helpful in developing plans for newly leased paddocks, with the system able to generate drainage options and gauge wetness potential as well as adding electromagnetic soil analysis to any data generated.

Cook has also used the AgFiniti system in planning the boundaries for pivot irrigation – making sure that the high value crop is not planted outside of the reach of the irrigation system.

"There’s a lot of cost saving associated with precise planning and where we put our investment," he says.

"If we’re picking up a difference in the crop and wondering what’s happened, we can look at what some of the reasons might be. We’ve got all the statistics we can ask for, like fertiliser rate, and we can see where the operator might have changed the rate on internal crop runs."

"It’s by far the best platform for querying spatial data, and you end up with this layer of historical data covering your entire operation," he says.

Ag Leader sales manager for the Asia-Pacific Douglas Amos says the company had been keen for Cook to have a look at how he could make the technology work for him.

"We essentially gave him a licence and said go your hardest, and the productivity gains down there have been bigger than I think anybody has expected – it has been really good, really surprising.

"He is bringing different datasets in – he is bringing in soil maps, he is bringing in elevation maps… Joe is using Agfiniti as the data tool and taking the data wherever he needs to go with it."

The AgFiniti cloud-based system can transfer data directly between computers without the need for USB transfer

Amos adds that Agleader’s data ownership policy, which helps ensure that the people who generate the data continue to own it, also makes it "incredibly unique" among its peers.

"Agfiniti is a closed system that is not even open to AgLeader, so the only way that someone can see the data that is in your Agfiniti account is if you specifically give them permission – and there are multiple permission levels in there," he says.

"From day one that was our policy and we are sure it is never going to change. You control your data, not anybody else."

The AgFiniti system is available across AgLeader’s dealer network across Australia. 

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