Yagro, the Cambridge-based agricultural data and technology company has released its YAGRO Analytics digital tool. The system aggregates on-farm business data into a simple online tool, allowing arable farm managers detailed insight into the farm’s current and historical performance at field level.

The company was established in 2015 by former Syngenta executive Gareth Davies and Norfolk farmer Dan Jolly as a digital farm inputs sourcing service. They say the latest project is the culmination of 18 months intense R&D, partly funded through the government’s Transforming Food Production Initiative. It was directed by a steering group of 15 high profile farms from across the UK – including Elveden Estates, Honingham Thorpe Farms and Sentry – to ensure it delivered practical benefits. This group instructed YAGRO with to ensure the system could deliver value equivalent to the loss of the BPS subsidy.

YAGRO Analytics processes data on variable costs and yields to produce cost of production figures by crops, variety and individual fields. It is underpinned by detailed analysis on prices, application rates, and products – down to analysing the quantity of active ingredient applied per field. The process is said to be simple for the farm manager, requiring basic data exports and minimal correction on data flagged by YAGRO’s proprietary Data Ingestion Engine.

“Managing data is one of the limiting factors on the growth of the business,” notes Sentry director John Barrett. “YAGRO Analytics really shows the variance in performance from field to field, and highlights what we can change to make an improvement to the business.”

Mr Davies say there are three clear benefits from the system – it allows farm managers to better understand their own businesses from their own information, seeing how fields compare to each other and over different years; it enables reliable benchmarking against other farm businesses through highly detailed and verified analysis against similar farms; and opens the possibility of collaborate with trusted farms through forming a private group to share and compare key performance metrics from the farms.

“It’s all about giving the farm manager that confident decision-making ability, as well as helping sharpen the edge for the business in these challenging times,” adds Yagro’s head of business development Daniel Jolly. “How are we going to replace Basic Payment Scheme funding? The best businesses have to keep on getting better, and we hope to play a huge part in that with this Analytics tool.”

The system costs £1/acre/year with a minimum subscription of £1,000. YAGRO is restricting the system to 200 farms between now and the end of 2020 to ensure quality and trust in datasets.

“As a fully independent company focused solely on the farmer, we live or die by the value we provide to the farm,” concludes Mr Davies. “The response so far has been outstanding. This is the first module in an exciting range of tools we are bringing to market over the next 12 months to help farm managers make better business decisions through information and analysis.”