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Turning data into usable information

Turning data into usable information
A stock water reticulation pumping station and weeping wall solid separation system engineered by AgFirst Engineering.

Precision agribusiness is all about making the right decisions by turning data collected into usable information and acting with confidence, says AgFirst Engneering director Davieth Verheij. The alternative is to become data rich/information poor.

A specialist in agricultural and horticultural engineering, AgFirst Engneering is comprised of specialist engineers with extensive experience in all facets of engineering design, build and implementation.

“We have guys from engineering design right through to manufacturing and installation,” says Davieth.

“From the design wing, there are eight design engineers. Then there are seven fabrication and installation guys on the ground.”

With bases in Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne, Te Puke and Waikato, the company has extensive geographic reach around of New Zealand. Plus to many corners of the globe, including Australia, Japan, the United States, Chile and Argentina.

“We’ve been undertaking a very large irrigation project in Myanmar for a couple of years now and we‘re about to kick off a massive project in India working for the World Bank,”says Davieth,

The company specialises in agricultural and horticultural projects involving effluent systems, water reticulation, land drainage, frost protection and irrigation systems. “We provide real value in those highly specialised projects,” says Davieth.

“The more large scale and complex the better, which comes down to our expertise and experience. People come to us with what they want to achieve and they can be assured that we will make it happen no matter how challenging.”

With an increasingly intense spotlight on the environment, sustainable agribusiness, water usage and effluent irrigation, Davieth says there is a lot of interest in developing monitoring system to assist in decision-making.

He says that agribusiness owners catch a lot of data in respect to water usage, pumping hours and effluent irrigation.

The key is developing control and monitoring systems that provide rich and usable information rather that offering an ocean of meaningless data, and that is where AgFirst Engneering can help.

With dairy effluent systems costing $200,000 – $300,000 in infrastructure, Daveith says that making correct use of effluent as fertiliser is extremely important from an environmental and compliance point of view as well as return on investment.

AgFirst Engneering develop systems that measure the effluent going on, map where it’s going, the intensity that is going on and shut the system down if something breaks down, to avoid environmental damage.

“So if you’re using that effluent as a nutrient there are masses of savings in fertiliser cost and you’re ensuring the application intensity/depth is not going higher than the soil infiltration rate and it’s not hurting the environment. So it’s a win/win for the farmer and the environment.”

It’s about capturing data and using it in a way that’s going to reduce the cost of the system by providing the right tools to agribusiness owners to make the right management decisions at the right time and enhance the value and efficiencies of everything they do.

In essence, it’s doing the right things at the right time based on reliable information.