May 22, 2020

FluroSat integrates ProductionWise with Overseer FM pioneering nutrient reporting in NZ


Nutrient management reporting has just got a lot faster and cheaper for cropping farmers with the integration of farm recording package ProductionWise and Overseer.

It has been 18 months in the making but now the Foundation for Arable Research’s ProductionWise farm recording package can interface directly with OverseerFM.

Enabling the two systems to talk to each other has always been a goal and though it has taken a while tests show the benefits will be huge, FAR PW manager Melanie Bates said.

Discussions with Overseer about the project began in January last between the two technical teams to plan the integration process.

A simple and visual process has been developed to integrate recorded data in PW into OverseerFM. 

In simple terms you can extract your PW data to a file that can be imported into the OverseerFM platform, allowing you to create your year-end analysis easily.

Melanie Bates, FAR ProductionWise manager

Once the system was designed it was tested by Macfarlane Rural Business consultant Mark Everest who assisted in constructing and trialling the new joint platform using real farmer data. 

Designing the process was complex, Everest said.

Designing software is a lot like growing a top-yielding crop. There are lots of moving parts and inter-dependant interactions.

Mark Everest, Macfarlane Rural Business consultant

The technical teams involved had to grapple with a range of mechanical challenges to align and interpret terminology, products, methods and practices as well as providing an easy to use and stable interface.

The end result is excellent.

Traditionally, the biggest consumer of time and therefore cost of preparing nutrient budgets for arable properties or any property that grows crops is the accurate collation of crop input data, things like drilling, fertiliser, harvest dates and yields. 

Mark Everest, Macfarlane Rural Business consultant

The new PW-OverseerFM integration potentially cuts that time by up to 50%.

“The key to making the integration work successfully is ensuring that all paddock inputs are recorded in PW as OverseerFM needs complete crop data to model accurately. 

The software does everything it needs to do and nothing more, making intuitive decisions or assumptions where they can be reliably made and leaving the balance for the operator to define.

Mark Everest, Macfarlane Rural Business consultant

“It’s a fantastic resource but it’s still only a tool to support the streamlining of a business and as such will not provide the same savings to all operators. It is not a silver bullet solution to not having put any effort into the annual preparation of a nutrient budget.”

Its main limitation is around the use of default options for management practices and inputs that are aligned to those in OverseerFM but the operator can change or refine inputs in the platform before exporting to OverseerFM.   

All in all, this PW-OverseerFM integration will streamline environmental management for arable farming businesses and enable farmers to spend more time identifying opportunities rather than ticking compliance boxes.

Mark Everest, Macfarlane Rural Business consultant

PW has been undergoing continuous improvements based on user feedback since it was first made available to FAR levypayers in 2013.

All development work is signed off by a working group of FAR staff and board members, growers, agronomists and industry representatives. 

FAR welcomes feedback on the integration development to help continually improve the system and keep farmers farming.  

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