AgResearch is “helping farmers see the future” through a new partnership with Animation Research Limited (ARL), the Kiwi company that revolutionised America’s Cup sports broadcasting.
The partnership is part of a cutting-edge research programme – the New Zealand Bioeconomy in the Digital Age (NZBIDA) – designed to enable transformational change to the country’s agricultural sector and supply chains.
As one strand of the MBIE-funded NZBIDA programme, Dr Seth Laurenson and Dr Remy Lasseur are designing a “hyper farm” using ARL’s world-renowned visualisation technology.
The hyper farm helps landowners visualise their landscapes using different land uses, from growing hemp to tourism. It also allows users to see what their properties would look like as a result of any changes as well as understand how changes would affect water quality, finances, carbon sequestration, bio-diversity and more.
The aim was to create a tool to help landowners design a new future while also understanding trade-offs.
The tool will help drive discussion around change by providing the how, what and where. Simplifying the complexity and providing the visual realism helps provide clarity and foresight to those discussions that might take place across the kitchen table, in the boardroom or amongst family and community groups.
The first iteration of this research can be seen for the first time this week at National Fieldays, Mystery Creek, at site PD26-34, where Dr Laurenson and Dr Lasseur will be on hand to show and explain to people what the future of landscape decision making will look like.
Dr Laurenson said AgResearch and the land-based science sector had gathered an substantial amount of data to support farming and research over the years. This trend is set to continue at an exponential pace due to sensor technology.
Bringing this information to life with a high-quality visualisation tool will “help accelerate adoption and change”, he said.
“Under the NZBIDA umbrella, we have brought together two groups that don’t normally work together, AgResearch and ARL, and we have really enjoyed the experience . I often think we need to stand back as scientists and say, ‘I need to try something new’. This is new, and the potential is huge. Landowners will welcome any help they can get to make decisions about their futures and we think this could be a big help.”
Ian Taylor, the founder and owner of ARL, said:
“We are seeing a tsunami of digital data and we are struggling to know what to do with it. One of the exciting things for us about this project with AgResearch is it brings all of those things together. The data is already there. When you put that together with the visualisation, you start to see the future.
“You don’t have to wait two years, five years or ten years to see what effect decisions have on your land. You can see it in 10 minutes in a really informed way.”