• 2020

  • Digital
    Apps and Software

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

Overseer Limited

Designed In:

New Zealand

Overseer is online software that applies complex scientific models to support environmentally and economically sustainable agriculture across all of NZ. It’s used across over 11,000 farms (over half of NZ’s commercial farmland) and is the most commonly used model by regional councils for calculating nutrient losses and greenhouse gas emissions.

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  • Agribusiness is New Zealand's largest industry. By making their groundbreaking scientific model accessible to non-scientists, Overseer could create meaningful change, empowering New Zealand's farmers to apply the decades of complex scientific research to their land and make better informed farming decisions when it comes to waterways and responsible farming. What's good for the land is also good for the business. Blanket environmental restrictions don't take into account the unique situations of individual farms. Overseer's model generates analyses based on extensive data and scenarios, to create measurable impact and pave the way for agribusinesses to make science-backed innovations.

  • Overseer produced a tool that could accurately model the impact of nitrate leaching, phosphorus run-off, and greenhouse gas emissions based on multiple variables and farming scenarios. This enabled scientists to identify opportunities for optimising production and nutrient use, and model changes before they're made. Like many complex scientific models, the learning curve was too high for the average user. Based on user research, we worked with Overseer to redesign the digital experience from the ground up, to be more intuitive and easy-to-use for everyone. New features are continuously being developed based on user feedback, to optimise and refine the experience.

  • Overseer helps farmers to become more engaged, informed, and proactive. It does more than just provide numbers; it equips agribusinesses with the actionable insights necessary to create meaningful change in their farming practice. The benefits are both economic and environmental, as the same model for optimising production lends itself to also minimising pollution. Since inception, the tool has been fostering a growing community of farmers and industry specialists who share a common goal of minimising their greenhouse gas emissions and optimising the efficiency of their farm. It encourages conversation around climate change and environmental impact within the farming industry.

  • OverseerFM is based on over 30 years of scientific research into New Zealand's farming and conditions. With a vast amount of climate and soil data already in the system —including topography, number of animals grazing, nutrient analysis, and crop growth— OverseerFM can automatically access information about the user's farm based on the location. Users can then update the data as required, upload files from previous analyses, and even access the audit log to see who made edits and when. This standardisation of data capture improves its accuracy and comparability nationwide, while also uncovering macro trends, as well as up-and-coming crops like quinoa. One of the challenges was deciding how to visually represent complex farm data in a simplified way. There was strong feedback from users to implement a feature allowing them to spatially define their own farm; describing the blocks, productions, and models. Popular user requests often result in new features, such as the new carbon stock tool. Though there is an annual subscription fee, all funds go back into the development and improvement of the software. By making a complex science more accessible, Overseer continues working to benefit the environment, the farmers, and the economy of our primary industries.