Sheryl Haitana

LIC is investing to further build capacity as it continues to transition farmers from old systems to cloud technology.

There is a lot more potential in the benefits of using cloud technology and having access to unlimited computing power, LIC chief executive Wayne McNee says.

LIC (Livestock Improvement Corporation) has partnered with AWS NZ to adopt a tailored cloud strategy to shorten the time it takes to analyse the range of data from different sources across the farm and provide real time insights through its MINDA application to help guide farmers’ decision making.

The platform will also be used to accelerate LIC’s breeding programme including LIC’s genomic analysis work and tools such as SPACE to provide live pasture growth predictions.

‘With our AWS platform we are doing a lot of work on genomics at the moment which is improving the rate of genetic gain above and beyond what we’ve been able to do before.’

“With our AWS platform we are doing a lot of work on genomics at the moment which is improving the rate of genetic gain above and beyond what we’ve been able to do before.

“Ultimately I think this will make farmers’ lives easier, Wayne says.

“They’ll be able to make decisions more quickly, they’ll have better information, it will be presented to them more clearly.”

Farmers won’t have to be an expert in the technology because it will be simple to use and give good insights to let farmers focus on their farm, he says.

For example, traditionally, farmers would print out a report to analyse it and make decisions after a herd test, but with this technology farmers have access to live data for each cow every day.

About 70% of New Zealand farmers already use MINDA Live on a regular basis with even more using the MINDA App.

The plan is to slowly transition Minda Pro out as farmers get access to better broadband and 4G and 5G mobile networks. The app is also being redeveloped for farmers to use it offline to make it easier for farmers with poor connectivity.

LIC is hiring more data scientists to continue to build capability in delivering new products and insights using this cloud technology.

Data scientists are expensive and rare, but necessary to develop these systems to provide farmers the ability to make better decisions, Wayne says.

Farmers can expect to see a rollout of benefits in their LIC products next year, Wayne says.

“Throughout next year farmers will start to see more of the insight work developing.”

Agritech is key to NZ’s economic future and a great space for technology companies to be focused on, AWS NZ country manager Tim Dacombe-Bird says.

“At AWS, we recognise the importance of the agritech sector to New Zealand, and LIC is a critical component in the farming ecosystem. Our broad technology platform is enabling LIC and other agritech organisations to focus on making a difference for their customers. AWS’ Data and Analytics services are enabling LIC to activate its large data sets to drive productivity, profitability and sustainability for farmers.”

NZ agritech startups are in a unique position, given the expertise and skill base here, to create change, he says.