HOW DATA AND TECHNOLOGY COULD BE KEY TO TRANSFORMING THE RED MEAT SECTOR
Big data and technology are rapidly changing the way businesses operate and farming is no different.
Innovations like the use of drone technology to map difficult terrain, sensors transmitting real-time data for analytics and multi-user tracking systems are proving powerful tools for farmers looking for specific results.
“Technology and the data that it can deliver to farmers can have a significant impact in terms of both operational and financial decision making,” says ANZ General Manager of Commercial & Agri, John Bennett.
“Having accurate and timely information about such things as pasture cover, stock weights, sale prices or cash flow and utilisation provides the basis for appropriate allocation of physical assets and capital that can make a significant difference to overall performance of a farming business. In simple terms it helps farmers be more efficient by helping them understand where and how they spend their time.”
The key is knowing how to access the data, and more importantly what data is relevant, so farmers can understand what it is saying and use it to make informed and timely decisions about their business.
A good example of how incorporating technology into workflow can immediately save time and money while modernising business practises is database management.
Transferring administrative tasks from a paper-based system to an electronic database, this allows farmers to share that information with trusted partners.
Database management is just the tip of the ice-berg; there are a range of innovative farming apps, websites and electronic diagnostic tools on the market. Digital communities are really important, talking to each other about what works, what doesn’t and sharing success stories leads to better, more informed decision making and ultimately, sector growth.
“Whilst in recent years Dairy has been the headline story, historically it is the Red Meat Sector that has underpinned the New Zealand Agri sector.”
“For ANZ it remains a critically important sector in terms of the diversity it provides, but also the varied growth opportunities it provides in terms of both products and markets. We certainly see it as a sector with lots of growth potential.”
To make sure the right information reaches the right people, ANZ have put a red meat leadership team in place with Regional Managers based in Central, Southern and the King Country regions.
“We have the most extensive network on the ground of any player and this year we plan to use this in a consistent and co-ordinated way to provide insights and connections across the sector. This will include regional benchmarking data, farm ownership structures, technology solutions and broader examples of best practice.”
“We have a huge level of knowledge of the sector in terms of financial, economic and market dynamics. By using this knowledge and sharing and working with appropriate partners we hope to help the industry as a whole address the challenges it faces, understand the opportunities it has and how to maximise these.”
Another way ANZ is investing in opportunities for the sector is through the strategic partnership with the Red Meat Profit Partnership Programme. The seven-year government-led programme is designed to drive long-term sustainable profits for the sector, with a commitment to six long-term projects, one of which is focussed on creating and developing a shared technology strategy.
“The Red Meat Profit Partnership is the first step along this path of the sector working together across the whole value chain. Whilst it is focussed on increasing on farm profitability it involves key players across all parts of the sector working together in a co-ordinated way. It provides the framework for this to happen and will hopefully provide a model that can be used going forward for other sector wide initiatives.”
“By getting involved farmers can not only share in and benefit from the work being done today within RMPP but they can also shape how the sector can work together going forward,” * John Bennett says.
THE BIG THREE FOR 2017
1. Taking a coordinated industry wide approach across farmers, commercial operators and industry bodies to the challenges the sector is facing provides the greatest opportunity for sustainable success for the sector and will enable it to take advantage of the other two major opportunities which are:
2. Understanding the consumer and then working to deliver appropriate products to the appropriate markets in an efficient way to increase profitability across the sector.
3. This in turn will provide the opportunity for more effective investment including technology at all levels of the value chain. Whilst volumes may not increase, value certainly will.
If we get it right there is no reason why Red Meat cannot be what the NZ apple or the wine sectors are today.
1. The major overriding issue or challenge for the sector remains extracting value for the products sold and ensuring that value is appropriately distributed through the value chain to ensure that the sector remains sustainable.
2. Linked to this are the two other significant issues, one of addressing the challenge of generational change and the other ownership structures.
3. And two, understanding the demands of global consumers and delivering to these.
“We are here to listen and help,” John Bennett says, “so in the first instance contact the local team on the ground or come and join us as we launch some of our initiatives and workshops across the country.”
*John Bennett is ANZ General Manager of Commercial & Agri for the Central Region.