“BigData offers advantages for the sector and for us, but certainly for the farmer”
Laurens Guelen is Continuous Improvement manager within the Cooperative Affairs department and he recently became JoinData project leader within FrieslandCampina. In the initial phase he was involved from the sidelines in Smart Dairy Farming, one of the forerunners of JoinData. The aim of this was to develop innovations with data. “Big Data offers opportunities for the farmer, for dairy farming and also for FrieslandCampina,” says Guelen. “Also look at other sectors outside agriculture where this is already much more common”.
Together with CRV and Agrifirm, FrieslandCampina is one of the founders of JoinData. “We wanted better and faster opportunities to use farm data from dairy farms to enable innovations. We were looking for a central point where we could give dairy farmers transparency about the origin and destination of their farm data. But also insight into the purpose of use of the data and an overview of the issued permissions. That became JoinData.”
Supplier and recipient of data
FrieslandCampina will soon supply data on, for example, milk payment, quantity, quality and composition of the milk supplied via JoinData. Until now, this has been done via an EDI message standard. This standard is outdated and is currently being modernized. The intention is to distribute the new standard via JoinData.
FrieslandCampina will soon also receive data via JoinData. Think of all the data a dairy farmer provides for Focus Planet, FrieslandCampina’s quality and sustainability program. For example, the data from the Annual Nutrient Cycling Assessment, animal welfare and health programs or the data needed to participate in the ‘On the way to PlanetProof’ milk flow.
Definite benefits for farmers
He understands that for some farmers, the advantage of JoinData is not yet clear: “Because the data is already flowing, so why change it? But JoinData certainly has advantages for farmers. In a metaphor, you could compare this with accounting. Farmers used to keep their business records in a shoe box and later in a binder. If I came to a farmer’s yard as an advisor and he could quickly show me the right papers from the right binder, I could assume he had his records in order. Now, JoinData is one of those binders and everything is done digitally. Previously, you had to send FrieslandCampina a letter of authorization for your accountant, for example, and now you can do that at the touch of a button.”
Guelen trekt vanuit zijn persoonlijke situatie een vergelijking met de zorg in deze tijd van Corona. “Ik vind het zelf ook handig dat een huisartsenpost of een ander ziekenhuis inzicht hebben in mijn patiëntendossier. Daar heb ik een machtiging voor afgegeven, maar ik wil wel dat met die data betrouwbaar wordt omgegaan. Zo zie ik JoinData ook.”
Innovation and practical research will also become easier this way, Guelen expects. “Funny example, but still; suppose a researcher wants to investigate a relationship between a cow’s movements and the protein content in the milk or other farm factors. JoinData can then provide insight into the pedometer data of a group of dairy farmers who have given (temporary) permission for this.” The purpose limitation in the authorization shows that farmers are informed of the outcome of the study. In the future, Guelen expects farmers to be at the helm of even more innovations. As a study group, for example, you could make your own comparison by linking data from the feed mixer to milk production in order to compare feed efficiency via JoinData. “Give a dairy farmer a number about their farm and tell them that their neighbor has the same similar number. The next day, they will be better together.”