At JoinData we like to talk to all parties within the sector; not just with parties who manage data on behalf of the farmer or parties who use the farmer’s data, but also with farmers themselves. The great thing about these company visits is that you really get a glimpse into the life of a farmer. In this case, Hanneke Burggraaff (Business Development Manager) was visiting the Gijsbers family in Loosbroek.
Marjan gave Hanneke a warm welcome and, together with her husband and son, she told her more about their farm, a pig farm with about 1,250 sows and 2,000 fattening pigs. A company that experienced significant growth a number of years ago. An important step, especially for the future of this company. Son Patrick would ultimately like to take over the company. In order to be future proof, it is important to go through certain developments. Developments in the field of automation within the company, digitization, sustainability and the welfare of the pigs.
Together they are making great strides in this area, from feeding stations and weighing scales to climate computers and software to manage the farm. But the use of a joint biogas installation, with which they supply energy to about 5,000 households, is also an important pillar. Marjan understands that data can have a big impact within the company. Insight into data can make a pig farmer’s life easier and improvements can be made through analysis.
But this is not always easy, as Marjan experienced. Linking data from a business management system to data from the feed computers caused the necessary problems. But gaining insight into their own company’s data is not always easy either. However, Marjan, Willie and Patrick do see that this is becoming increasingly important. To be able to make better decisions, they like to use the data that is already on their farm and they proactively discuss with their suppliers the possibilities of using the data from the stall systems themselves.
In discussions with other pig farmers, but also in her position as director of ZLTO, Marjan understands that the concept of data is not always on the agenda. That’s a shame, because there’s so much data on a farm. Visitors from other sectors who visit the Gijsbers’ farm are often surprised at the amount of data they have. In this respect, the Netherlands is truly leading the way and other sectors could take a leaf out of its book.
Still, there is some work to be done. Awareness of data sharing, insight into and control over who you share data with, as well as the reasons for which data is used, are often underexposed. Around the world, data is seen as something valuable. This also creates questions like: “How can I benefit from this as a pig farmer?”, “What opportunities and insights can this bring to my business?” And those questions should of course be asked.
“Innovation through sharing, combining and enriching data is not something for the long term,” Hanneke thinks, and she expects that there will be more and more opportunities for today’s farmers to be able to make smarter decisions based on their data. Of course, this requires that the parties within the sector are willing to share that data. And for the pig farmer to stay in control of who is allowed to use data and for what purpose!