Mining farm data might be the next boom industry with banks, agribusiness and potential investors likely to see benefit from collating soil, weather and crop data to assess properties from a distance.
While many companies are focusing on farm management software with raw data retained by the individual, Digital Agriculture Services has taken a different tact, harvesting both publicly available and proprietary data sets to provide intelligence to institutions such as banks, investors and agribusiness.
Digital Agriculture Services co-founder and chief executive Anthony Willmott said the product garnered significant interest at the KPMG IoT Innovation Expo for Smart Food and Fibre, supported by the Food Agility CRC, in Melbourne.
“DAS have built the first rural intelligence engine focused on Australian and global farming, we bring in all the critical data required by the ecosystem that surrounds the farmer,” he said.
Ecosystem describes the network of organisations that interact with, and potentially profit from, farming.
“We call it an intelligence engine because it supports banks, financial service companies, insurers, agribusiness and government to help give them the critical data they need to know about rural properties,” Mr Willmott said.
Established in 2017, DAS is a partnership with the CSIRO, who is an equity partner.
Mr Willmott said the CSIRO investment in DAS was aimed at creating impact from science.
“A lot of our work with them is about how we can take investments in research in food and agricultural science and re-purpose it to support the ecosystem that surrounds the farmer,” he said.
Mr Willmott said his company believed providing consolidated data was of benefit both to the farmers themselves as well as the lenders.
“Our vision is to provide consistent standardised data on a national level,” he said.
“The reality today is with poor quality data people manage risk by lending less and by charging higher insurance premiums.
“Imagine if you could know instantly how any rural land will perform, its value, its productivity, its risk and more, that’s exactly what we’re delivering.”
Mr Wilmott said the engine contained up-to-date data including soil maps, crop identification and current rainfall.
“We’ve updated all the soil maps in Australia, really focusing on the needs of agribusiness and farmers,” he said.
“We bring in productivity data, climate-related data and weather-related data, all those critical pieces of information that people need to make business decisions.”