10 June 2019
AgResearch is “helping farmers see the future” thanks to a new partnership with Animation Research Limited (ARL), the
Kiwi company that revolutionised America’s Cup sports broadcasting.
The partnership is part of a cutting-edge research programme – the New Zealand Bioeconomy in the Digital Age (NZBIDA) -
designed to enable transformational change to the country’s agricultural sector and supply chains.
As one strand of the MBIE-funded NZBIDA programme, Dr Seth Laurenson and Dr Remy Lasseur are designing a “hyper farm”
using ARL’s world-renowned visualisation technology. It helps landowners visualise their landscapes using different land
uses, from growing hemp to tourism. It also allows users to see what their properties would look like as a result of any
changes as well as understand how changes would affect water quality, finances, carbon sequestration, bio-diversity and
“We wanted to create a tool to help landowners design a new future while also understanding trade-offs. The tool will
help drive discussion around change by providing the how, what and where. Simplifying the complexity and providing the
visual realism helps provide clarity and foresight to those discussions that might take place across the kitchen table,
in the boardroom or amongst family and community groups. Being able to simulate our land and our unique circumstances
makes it that bit more real.”
The first iteration of this exciting research can be seen for the first time this week at National Fieldays, Mystery
Creek, at site PD26-34, where Seth and Remy will be on hand to show and explain to people what the future of landscape
decision making will look like.
Seth said AgResearch and the land-based science sector had gathered an incredible amount of data to support farming and
research over the years. This trend is set to continue at an exponential pace due to sensor technology. Bringing that
information to life with a high-quality visualisation tool will “help accelerate adoption and change”, he said.
“Under the NZBIDA umbrella, we have brought together two groups that don’t normally work together, AgResearch and ARL,
and we have really enjoyed the experience . I often think we need to stand back as scientists and say, ‘I need to try
something new’. This is new, and the potential is huge. Landowners will welcome any help they can get to make decisions
about their futures and we think this could be a big help.”
Ian Taylor is the founder and owner of ARL and added: “We are seeing a tsunami of digital data and we are struggling to
know what to do with it. One of the exciting things for us about this project with AgResearch is it brings all of those
things together. The data is already there. When you put that together with the visualisation, you start to see the
“You don’t have to wait two years, five years or ten years to see what effect decisions have on your land. You can see
it in 10 minutes in a really informed way.”