Navigating the farm software minefield

Navigating the farm software minefield


Opinion
Brooke Sauer

Brooke Sauer

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When it comes to farm software, Brooke Sauer has found that simple is not always effective.

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Opinion | The Gauge 

I was recently asked how to tell one agriculture software platform from another? A little dumbfounded, I realised, Google does not differentiate the market well and a "Compare the market" meerkat would be helpful.

As a consultant I have played in this sandpit and can efficiently differentiate between the "rubbish or partly decent" categories. Regardless, I struggled to define a comparison model.

They all use the cloud, all create variable rate maps, all seem to drag tractor generated data from the machine (like magic) and claim to remove the workload out of the precision ag experience; Simplesness. The only difference was price.

A good software platform should make life easy, storing, collating and analysing all the data you collect that is important to your decision-making process.

Most importantly it will provide an analytical toolbox to create sensible outputs from all that data. With filtered connections to the necessary business partners.

When imitating a meerkat one should ask sensible questions. Do you require NDVI every 4 days? How does that imagery inform me? How are "solutions" derived? Is that sensible? Simple is not always effective.

If you plan or pay for a communications gateway with networked sensors will it bother you to have another bookmark in your favourites bar for the short term? Will integrations come?

Do you seek seamless tractor-to-cloud integration with accounting tools to avoid multi-handling operational data for record keeping and reporting? Who do you share with - the accountant, benchmarking group, bank manager? Or all of the above (without figures) with your consultant. Is this possible?

Data transparency is paramount. Retain the right to own, use and move data. Will your data be aggregated, and the analytics sold? Are you concerned about that? Implications of data hosted overseas? Read the Data Privacy Policy. Make the most of our lacklustre communications infrastructure and read the dot points as you scroll down to the "Accept" button.

Unfortunately, we are all wondering why the solution we asked for (albeit before we really understood the opportunity) is still coming. To be fair, cloud hosting - the backbone of "connectedness" - is expensive to build and maintain.

The Australian market collectively is small. A classic "chicken before the egg" conundrum. Developers; build it and we will come!

Just like insurance, there are no clear winners so back a place getter that ticks the boxes important to you now. The final solution will come together over time.

- Brooke Sauer is CEO of IntellectAg, a digital agriculture consulting company.

The story Navigating the farm software minefield first appeared on Farm Online.

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