The agricultural sector is still one of the least digitized compared to other industries - not only in Germany but globally. This is also evident from a recent McKinsey article (Agriculture's connected future: How technology can yield new growth). So the market for an effective solution for documenting and communicating data on farms is there. Will Norwegian company Farmable fill that gap?
We spoke to Max Bangen of Farmable: "The possibilities for data collection in fruit growing are super diverse. From drone and satellite imagery, to the Internet of Things and Big Data. A lot of data is available but it's hard for fruit growers to get an overview. Especially since many things in fruit growing have not yet been converted to digital formats. Observations from growers and their employees, as well as advice from consultants, are still more likely to be found on paper than digitally stored for the entire team. That's something we'd like to remedy at Farmable."
In the future, Farmable aims to efficiently integrate various crop data on a mobile platform and provide growers with a simple, visual overview of the farm: "We want to help save effort on documentation, time and money for growers on a day-to-day basis."
Recently, the company also sought opinions from a number of consultants working with the Farmable app. Marcel Veens, horticultural adviser, (Marcel Veens Horticultural Adviser Pty. Ltd., Pomona Qld) and agronomist Rebecca Dumbrell (TGT, Tolga Qld) use their knowledge and the data they collect to work with growers to achieve the best possible yields. To do this, it is important that all data is easily accessible to farm management and their advisors.
Communicating collected data in a meaningful way
Cultivation advice anywhere and anytime is something Veens can also achieve thanks to the help of Farmable: "The app doesn't change the type of data that is collected. We have a simpler overview of the condition of the fields, including pests and diseases. Farmable serves as a centralized collection point for the data, which can then be viewed by farm staff, up to and including consultants like me. In doing so, the app not only collects notes from field inspections, but creates summaries and sends automatically generated reports to the grower."
For Dumbrell, the advantage of technologies like this lies in data management. "In my view, technologies like Farmable have many benefits for growers and advisors. For example, in the future, growers will be able to more easily send their advisors things like bloom, weather data, yield rates, information on pests, diseases and pesticide use. This gives a big advantage over farms that don't have easy access to this data. Data like this is very important when you want to address problems or optimize yields," Dumbrell says.
She adds: "Programs like Farmable that allow for the collection of yield data from field to field, along with historical data from those fields from planning to new crop, are very valuable."
"The best way I help my customers is through my knowledge," says Marcel Veens. "And that works much more smoothly with a platform like Farmable, which makes administration and communication easier because all the important data is collected in one place." Dumbrell agrees: "The more knowledge is made available to us, the better we can do our job in the long run."