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Automated tech leads to greater farm efficiencies

For many farmers, the goal is to be out farming the land, not stuck in the office surrounded by paperwork.

Since switching to using HawkEye® in August 2018, Canterbury contract milker Craig Minson has really noticed efficiencies gained across the business, Craufurd Dairy Farm, near Burnham.

HawkEye is a map-based farm tool that farmers can use to make quicker, more informed decisions about their nutrient inputs. It allows farmers to order online directly from their farm map, ensuring accurate spreading and the avoidance of high-risk areas.

Proof of placement shows where nutrients have gone for compliance purposes and so assists on-farm decision making.

Craig says the ability to order fertiliser from his farm map and have the order automatically communicated to all parties involved has made life much simpler for his whole team.

“When I order the fertiliser through HawkEye, the job is automatically sent to Ravensdown and the spreader via an email with the farm map of where it needs to go. I pasture walk and order fertiliser twice a week, so user-efficiency means a lot to me, especially when it allows me to have more time on the farm.”

After spreading, a proof of placement map showing all the nutrient information and quantities applied appears in HawkEye, provided a Ravensdown Joint Venture (JV) or opted-in TracMap spreader is being used. Craig says that the time efficiency comes from having all the information in one place to make agronomy decisions.

“All the info is there so you can make decisions fast. If you want to see what you’ve done in the past, you can just click on the paddock and look at its history,” he says.

“The time I spend on this task is so much less now. I have more time to get out on farm – which is what I enjoy doing.”

With his wife Toni and a team of four staff, Craig says it’s not only the time benefits that have been noticeable.

“It helps us stick to budget and identify areas where we can improve and make better management decisions, such as improving nutrient efficiencies. The automation of HawkEye means that everything just happens. Everyone who needs to know is communicated with, including our farmer shareholders,” he says. “Communication is key to ensure everyone knows what’s going on, removing any risk of errors.”

HawkEye specialist Rangi Holland says HawkEye’s ease of use and informationsharing capabilities mean the farmer’s agri manager and other consultants have access to the right information.

“I could see the benefits to the farmer right back when I started on this project as an agri manager,” says Rangi. “The whole development has been farmer led so I know it will add value on farm

“Anything that makes it easier for farmers gives me a huge sense of accomplishment because we are all part of the farming family, part of the farmer’s team.”

HawkEye is integrated with TracMap, C-Dax and Ravensdown JV spreaders, reducing the margins for error in nutrient application

“Farming today is about having access to good data, and for farmers to have that, we need to be collaborating with other businesses to give them something that isn’t piecemeal so they can make better decisions,” she says.

“Having the ability to access one source of the truth means we can problem solve and provide solutions and plans more efficiently.”

With HawkEye’s new smartphone app HawkEye Mobile, farmers can now order product and spreading from their phone, making life simpler still.

“I’m really looking forward to using the app so I can get back to doing what I love, farming,” says Craig.

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