A new platform for predicting farm productivity

Published 22 July 2020

A new software platform, Ag360™, has been launched by a University of New England (UNE) subsidiary, offering some of the most powerful predictive capability ever available to producers anywhere.

Some aspects of Ag360™ will be familiar to producers. The platform is an expanded version of ASKBILL, the groundbreaking application developed by the Sheep CRC. When the CRC finished its last cycle, the Centre's intellectual property was bequeathed to UNE for future development.

Drawing on data from the Bureau of Meterology ACCESS S global weather forecasting model, the Ag360™ platform can predict livestock and pasture performance up to six months ahead. The BoM data is customised by Ag360 to reflect conditions within five kilometres of any chosen point.

With this information, Ag360™ can make paddock-specific forecasts for rainfall and soil moisture, pasture condition, sheep and cattle live- and carcass weight, condition score and fat cover, wool growth, and stressors like blowflies, worms and extreme weather.

The platform provides alerts via text or email if certain production targets are likely to fall out of selected parameters. Users can also enter farm management data, like grazing rotations, pasture biomass and animal health treatments, which serve as a management record and can be used to enhance the software's future predictive capability.

"Ag360 is unique in its ability to simplify the complex relationship between weather, pasture and livestock performance to predict the future and reduce uncertainty," said Ag360 Pty Ltd chief executive Steve Potts.

"It's a unique and powerful tool to assist producers and land managers make more informed decisions that drives greater value and profit from their operations."

ASKBILL subscribers will be invited to transition to the new and improved Ag360™ platform. All other producers interested in harnessing the benefits of Ag360™ can take advantage of a 21 day free trial at www.ag360.com.au. They will be supported if they adopt the platform.

After taking over the ASKBILL and other Sheep CRC packages in 2019, UNE had to assess how to maximise the intellectual property's potential.

A university, as a public-sector business, has constraints that prevent it operating as nimbly as the business world requires. To ensure the technology could fulfil its commercial potential, UNE created a commercial entity, Ag360 Pty Ltd, and gave the new enterprise the licence to commercialise the ASKBILL technology.

The Ag360 platform is the first product from this arrangement. The company's links with its university parent mean that it has ready access to the researchers, data scientists and software developers who are continuing to enhance the product.

Ag360™ already has the capacity to operate across a range of agricultural enterprises and distribute timely production information right along the supply chain. The company is eager to build on this capability.

With the right investors, Mr Potts hopes to expand the new platform into new sectors, and ultimately, expand it into an international business.

"We are currently investigating opportunities to develop dairy and cropping functionality, ways of giving producers easy access to carbon markets, better linkages to supply chain participants and enabling access for agricultural service providers," Mr Potts said.

Mr Potts said that Ag360 Pty Ltd is now looking for forward-thinking investors interested in backing the Ag360™ platform and helping it to fulfil its potential.

For more information or to set up an account go to www.ag360.com.au