IMPORTANT NOTICE: Fonterra Farm Source Activate 2.0 Terms and Conditions

Wharf42 is delighted to be working with the team at Fonterra’s Farm Source, to assist with the launch of Fonterra’s Farm Source initiative, Activate 2.0

Fonterra Farm Source: Sponsoring Activate 2.0

Fonterra is seeking to work with innovative partners with solutions that help farmers make the most of data by easily:

Collecting data -> Analysing data -> Presenting data

In a way that enables farmers to make decisions to make them more:

  • Sustainable
  • Productive
  • Profitable
  • Efficient

To support this important set of objectives, Fonterra recently announced the launch of a new joint venture with the Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) called Agrigate which will start to pull together key pieces of disparate information so farmers can see this in one place and make better on-farm decisions. More about this exciting joint venture over the coming weeks.

Activate 2.0 is designed to support this initiative. Farm Source’s Activate 2.0 is a competition open to 3rd party innovators designed to help Fonterra’s farmers lower input costs, save time, or increase productivity.

Timelines are tight. Activate 2.0 is being formally launched today.

The closing date for applications to enter the competition is next Wednesday. That’s the 15th February. You can enter right now by going to the Activate 2.0 website. The process is quick and easy.

On Tuesday 21st February, the Farm Source team will host an in-person “support day” to enable teams to meet, engage with mentors and domain subject experts, and learn more about Agrigate.

On Wednesday 1 March, a shortlist of teams who have applied to join the competition will be invited to pitch to a panel of judges in Auckland. The panel will select a list of finalists with the final taking place on the morning of Thursday 16 March, in front of an audience of 400 Fonterra Farm Source managers, personnel and senior Fonterra management in Wellington. This audience will select the winning team.

From my perspective, the key prize is the exposure and access that the winning team and finalists will get to Fonterra’s internal technical, innovation and business units. Activate 2.0 is a major initiative by the team at Fonterra Farm Source to engage with the broader New Zealand AgTech ecosystem.

In previous blog posts, I have spoken about the importance of established New Zealand Agribusinesses engaging with startup and early stage businesses working in this space. It is where so much innovation and disruption is taking place. It’s this direct engagement that can and will lead to massive competitive advantage for New Zealand’s primary sector. The Activate 2.0 initiative is a great example of engagement in practice.

The following paragraphs set out the challenge and problem statement that the teams applying to join the Activate 2.0 competition should address. More information, and an Application Form, can be found at the Activate 2.0 website which is also being published today. You can find it here.


  • Dairy Farming is a complex business and Fonterra’s farmers are world leaders in running efficient, sustainable pasture based farms and bringing trusted dairy goodness to the world stage.
  • Farmers are continuously looking for innovative ways to run smarter, more efficient and more sustainable businesses.

 The Problem:

  • Currently the availability of good data and information is not easily accessible or presented in a way which enables this and farmers are asking for solutions.

The Challenge:

  • Fonterra is seeking to work with innovative partners with solutions that help farmers make the most of data by easily:

Collecting data -> Analysing data -> Presenting data

  • In a way that enables farmers to make decisions quickly to make them more:
    • Sustainable
    • Productive
    • Profitable
    • Efficient

This Problem Statement should be viewed from a broad, rather than narrow perspective. Areas of interest to the Fonterra Farm Source team include:

  • Optimising / Managing Milk Production and Quality
  • Optimised Herd Management and Animal Health
  • Weather Forecasting
  • Cost structures (e.g. ability to analyse input / output costs easily)
  • Optimising Soil Management including
    • Animal movement tracking
    • Fertiliser Usage
    • Soil Moisture
    • Soil Temperature
  • Irrigation and Effluent Management
  • Farm Machinery optimisation
  • People Health and Labour Management
  • Optimising Pasture and Feed Management

The Farm Source team have been gathering feedback from farmers and these are just some of the ideas (problem issues) that Fonterra are particularly interested in already:

  • I want to optimise the utilisation of my Pasture, balancing pasture and supplementary feed in an optimal way.  This meets our trusted goodness branding and pasture is also the lowest cost of feed
  • I want to optimise my use of irrigation to support my obligations around water use and ultimately reduce cost and be more efficient with our valuable resource
  • How do I track my herd in real time so I can see where they’re grazing? I can make better decisions on fertilisation, irrigation, movement
  • I want to compare my input costs (as defined by (e.g.) Dairy Base standard farm budget) to best practice or similar farms to mine so I can find areas / ways to improve my profitability
  • I want to optimise the pasture response rate for every application of Nitrogen and at the same time reduce the amount of fertiliser/nutrient leaching, or volatising
  • I want to meet my obligations around effluent management – I need to minimise risks of overloading soils (minimise environmental impact) and know when to use effluent as a pastoral nutrient
  • I want to get the best performance out of my current herd by identifying my best and worst performing cows (including condition, production, feed input, health, ease of pregnancy)
  • I want to collect information (nitrogen, effluent, cow numbers, etc.) in a way which makes it easy for me to meet my compliance needs
  • I want my animals to be in optimal health to allow peak production and impregnation rates

As described above, timelines are tight. To apply today, go to the Activate 2.0 website at and submit the simple online Application Form to the Fonterra Farm Source team.

If you have any questions in the meantime, about any aspect of the Activate 2.0 initiative, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at

This is one major opportunity you really should not miss.