An interview with Gus Hewitt, TracMap National Sales Manager (NZ).
What is TracMap?
We’re a Kiwi agtech company on a mission to help our customers improve efficiency and productivity on farm. Our systems plan, map and capture activity such as nutrient application, break fencing and k-line shifts, making the day-to-day easier for both managers and staff. That data can then be easily shared with a number of other on-farm systems for planning and reporting.
We’ve got a great bunch of people working behind the scenes at TracMap, with around 50 staff all up. The majority have set up camp in Mosgiel, just south of Dunedin, and we’ve got five sales staff out on the road supporting New Zealand farmers and contracting businesses. We also have small teams based in Australia, California and Washington.
How did TracMap come about?
TracMap was born in 2005 from a need for more accuracy in spreading fertiliser over our demanding NZ hill country. Colin Brown (1982 Young Farmer of the Year) had done his time as a sheep and beef farmer and was working as an agricultural consultant when he identified that technology would shape the future of farming.
TracMap saw huge potential for efficiency gains for farmers by tapping into emerging GPS technology, and within the first year TracMap began installing systems into fertiliser-spreading trucks. Since then we’ve adapted the technology for wider application, with solutions available to a variety of operations across the world.
Who uses it?
We have a mix of users across the globe. In New Zealand our customers are dairy and drystock farmers, rural contractors, fert spreading and spray contractors, as well as aerial applicators. In Australia and the US, we primarily support vineyards, tree fruit and nut growers.
Our aviation customers use our system in both fixed-wing and helicopter fertiliser application, with the vast majority of aerial fertiliser in New Zealand applied through a TracMap system.
What’s the biggest problem you’re solving?
Our customers face a wide variety of pressures; everything from staffing and visibility of machines on the ground to increasing regulatory requirements around water, fertiliser and effluent application. We support our customers to be as efficient and productive as possible and prove compliance and environmental best practice – all while improving
their bottom line.
It’s a real juggling act for farmers and contractors in the current environment, a trend we’ve seen become increasingly complicated across all our markets. As a company we’re actively invested in developing our technology to simplify daily operations for business owners, managers and staff.
Where does TracMap fit into the future of farming?
As a tech company, we are constantly developing our systems to keep ahead of the hurdles our customers face day to day. We do this with direct feedback and input from customers to make sure we’re keeping relevant and meeting the needs of the sector.
Technology and data will be crucial in the future of farming, so we’ve committed to ensuring that the tools we provide simplify the planning, mapping and reporting process. The data our customers capture needs to be as usable as possible; with this in mind, we’ve invested heavily in third-party partnerships to allow data sharing between a number of farming software platforms.
Why are farmers using TracMap?
Farmers use TracMap to make sure they’re getting the most out of their resources, whether that’s staff time, fertiliser, water, or feed breaks. The system provides the operational visibility to aid planning and forecasting, accuracy and efficiency in job management and shareable data for reporting and compliance.
TracMap sets farmers and their staff up for success in an environment where they’re facing more pressures than ever before.
Article first published in The Country Trader – September 2019