Technological advancements have allowed Australian farmers to improve operational efficiency for many years. However, as we strive to grow the industry, valuable agribusiness data remains frustratingly siloed in systems that aren’t compatible.
For example, Australian red meat producers use a range of technology in their operations. Crush side data loggers, in-paddock autonomous weigh units, real-time water monitoring systems, and satellite data are a few examples of the types of technology one producer may have in operation.
The team at TerraCipher and Charles Sturt University believe Australia’s red meat producers should have control of their valuable agribusiness data. Being able to analyse this information can help inform business decisions.
Producers should be able to choose who they want to share their data with, how they want to share and protect it, and at the click of a button set up an automated connection between their different technology providers.
When they turn on a connection, producers should know where the data is coming from, who it is going to and how it’s going to be used; and when they turn it off, it’s completely off.
In March 2021, TerraCipher and Charles Sturt University joined forces with Food Agility CRC and Integrity Systems Company in a collaborative project that allowed us to begin exploring what producer-centric data sharing infrastructure would require.
The result of this project is AgriTrakka, a data sharing platform that puts producers in control of their data. The system is unique as it doesn’t hold onto any of the participating producers’ data, it simply routes it where they want it to go.
TerraCipher CTO and team lead Dave Swain said, “AgriTrakka is about data distribution, not data aggregation. By not holding onto any of the producers' data we can be the honest brokers, facilitating the exchange of data between service providers.”
By providing data standardisation and tools to get producers’ data where they want it, the team has managed to enable data to be shared easily between different service providers and enable users to directly contribute their data to ongoing research.
AgriTrakka means producers can participate, partner, shape and drive the direction of their data and the insights they gain from it, directly putting knowledge into action.
The project is in its final quarter and the team is seeking producers to test the AgriTrakka platform. As part of the capability demonstration, the team have ongoing support from Meat & Livestock Australia in a project that is allowing producers to work with researchers to build and deliver a market readiness data analysis tool. Moreover, by immediately testing this on-farm, we ensure from the outset that the final product will be fit for purpose.
The team are helping coordinate cattle liveweight data from crush side data units and automated in-paddock weigh systems and exploring how they can be used to better predict when cattle will be ready for market.
The team recognises that it will take time for Agtech companies to integrate with AgriTrakka and publish data on behalf of producers. To allow producers to start sharing their data through AgriTrakka, the team has developed a file uploader so they can publish data straight from desktop spreadsheet software – such as Google Sheets or Excel.
This is an ambitious project, built on true shared partnerships and at the core is the ability for cattle producers to make a choice to share their data in the project. In return producers get access to a team of data analysts, they get a stake in future intellectual property and their data can be better used for day-to-day business management decisions.
As National Farmer’s Federation chief executive, Tony Mahar, said recently; data-sharing is a necessity if Australian agriculture is to reach its goal of becoming a A$100bn industry. We couldn’t agree more, and we hope you’ll play a part.
In this early stage the team are particularly interested in producers capturing crush side weigh data or using in-paddock weigh systems and want to be able to look across all of these data at the same time. You can also contribute these data (if you choose) with the Market Readiness Project. If you’re interested, please sign up and reach out to CSU team lead Shawn Mcgrath.
For Data Publishers
If you are an Agtech company who wants to integrate with AgriTrakka to publish data on behalf of your customers, please reach out to the team.
For Data Consumers
The team is also looking for interested Service Providers who are looking to consume producers’ data through the platform, particularly animal weight data at this stage. Please contact us if you're interested to know more.
If you are a researcher interested in directly integrating producer data into your research activities and in return providing producers with rich and novel insights please email team lead, Adjunct Professor Dave Swain.
About the Author
Will Swain is the creative director and industrial designer for TerraCipher.
AgriTrakka is the result of 'Trakka: Making Data Flow', the collaborative project with Food Agility CRC, TerraCipher, Integrity Systems Company and Charles Sturt University exploring producer-centric data sharing infrastructure.