What has coronavirus changed in the agricultural sector? Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in January 2020, the media has been restlessly filled with our crises: Hamster purchases, milk price crisis, Tönnies scandal. The eyes of the public are focused on all systemically relevant sectors and the coronavirus crisis has changed us forever. In this blog post, however, we want to look at a change in the coronavirus era that has hardly been discussed in the media, but will have a much more lasting impact on our livestock farming in the future. Has coronavirus driven digitalization in livestock farming?

Catapulted forward by years?

Consumers are leading the way: Digital farm stores and food delivery services are booming (see REWE delivery service, bringmeister, pielers, kaufnekuh.de and more). And the latest digital survey conducted by bitkom e.v. in April 2020 continues to show an increase in the use of digital solutions on farms. In times of contact restrictions, digital solutions are therefore becoming a game changer for the agricultural industry in order to remain accessible and maintain business relationships. Steps that would have taken the agricultural sector months or even years here and there to put digitalization so high on the priority list are now being taken.

How have feed retailers reacted? Small start, big impact: Certainly, telephone advice and a few more online aids and information do not make a digitalization trend (we will come to the really big changes in a moment). Nevertheless, significantly more information has already been provided digitally than before and customers have found relevant information quickly without the phones and service hotlines being red-hot – saving time and nerves on both sides. Feeding advisors had to work more from home and were more reliant than ever on digital tools to collaborate with their customers.

Digital events – more than just stopgaps Digital events such as webinars are becoming increasingly popular: Smartbow, topfarmplan & many more are leading the way, the Digital Agriculture Network is launching digital workshops for farmers and agribusiness and the SKW Piesteritz field day is also going virtual. Finally, in February 2021, we will experience the DLG’s first completely digital Eurotier trade fair.

The digital farm visit?

What Sano announced online has quietly happened for many: Feeding advisors working completely digitally from home. Even before Corona, many feeding advisors often work from home or on the road – paper printouts, telephone arrangements and offline programs are the order of the day (decentralized customer data storage – a horror since GDPR).

During the coronavirus lockdown, farm visits are initially becoming rare or are being dropped altogether, with feeding advice shifting mainly to telephone advice and quick Whatsapps. Many also rely on video chats for advice to at least maintain the feeling of personal contact. Not only the big winners of the coronavirus crisis, such as online retailers or streaming services, can benefit from this change in shared communication, but also farmers and advisors:

FarmersFeed advisors
Less appointments with sales staff in the yard More time for day-to-day business Faster advice and problem solving, as consultants can sometimes be reached more quickly Less paperwork, as much is handed over digitallyLess “unproductive” travel time and therefore better accessibility in some cases Saving on travel costs for company visits Serving more customers

Digital communication is becoming the key phrase for the entire industry to overcome isolation. Even the best digital solution cannot replace personal on-site consultation, but it is a useful addition to make collaboration more efficient and easier when you are not on site.

The experience of our customers during Corona

As fodjan brings farmers and advisors together on one platform, both are looking at the same database online. We would like to share the experiences that our customers have had with this during the coronavirus period with you here. Since the start of the lockdown in March 2020, our customers – whether farmers or feed consultants – have increasingly told us how helpful it was to be able to quickly exchange information on a common database.

An example: Farmer and advisor work together in fodjan – one via laptop, one via app on the phone. The new silage analysis automatically enters fodjan via the interface and both are notified. The advisor adjusts the ration and quickly discusses it with the farmer by phone or video chat and shared screen. The farmer sees the finished ration directly in fodjan or receives it exported from fodjan as a PDF by e-mail from his advisor. In this way, many things can be clarified even without a farm visit or, since the resumption of the first farm visits, these can be efficiently prepared and followed up. A digital success, right?

Much more simple, good, digital networking is needed

Even though corona has caused us a lot of suffering worldwide, the effects have also brought opportunities. The world and the agricultural sector have once again become more aware of how much digital communication holds us together in these times. And many of us will no longer want to do without some of the advantages of digital working methods. So let’s continue to work on digital added value to create the best possible basis for decision-making for the farmer of the future.

What does it take?

  • Networking with automatic data flows that can be set up quickly (data compatibility)
  • Willingness to communicate and network on all sides / opening of interfaces for the benefit of the farmer / transparency
  • Central data storage that is consistent (cloud solutions)
  • Intelligent evaluations that offer added value
  • Solutions that can do the following: Multi-user, multi-device, online & offline (until mobile internet is available everywhere)
  • Uncompromising compliance with data protection rights

We at fodjan are already working hard on this.

Join us and follow us into the digital future of feeding:

Your fodjan team.