Craig and his wife, Dee Wilkes-Bowes, are cattle and sheep farmers in Naradhan, NSW. Dee has a farming background and over 20 years of experience working for farming and trade organisations, while Craig’s background is in software development, in particular website and mobile development for agtech companies.
Craig and Dee practice rotational grazing and, after moving to a farm that was new to them, knew they needed to improve the pastures and soil health. To do so, they started to monitor different paddocks. However, without tools to help make regular monitoring more efficient, they found themselves continually missing or losing paddock updates. This experience led to the idea for “Monitor,” a tool to assist with the capture and analysis of grazing monitoring site information to help farmers improve pastures, ground cover and soil health based on monitoring the impact of farming practices over time.
Craig’s original idea for Monitor focused on capturing images with an in-situ time lapse camera. Images from the camera would then be automatically uploaded via hotspot Wi-Fi to a mobile app, which farmers could use to make decisions around stock movements, infrastructure, inputs, etc.
After conducting interviews with over 15 potential customers as part of the program, Craig realised several things that have impacted his vision for Monitor. For example, most growers do not want additional hardware products; instead, they are interested in software tools that can help them get more value out of the hardware they already have, such as drones, go pros, and other cameras.
Another key insight for Craig has been the importance of having a prototype. While having conversations and doing customer discovery has been helpful to evolve the idea, all the growers he spoke with were keen to see the app “in action.” Given Craig’s background in software development, he’s excited to begin building out the prototype and testing beta users to collect feedback.
If you have an idea and are not sure if its a good one then the F2F ideas program can help you determine if its worth pursuing or changing to meet the needs of your customers.
Craig will be building out his software prototype and testing various hardware products against it. He’ll also be working with trial users to get their feedback, and hopefully get them to pay for the app!