Grower cousins launch digital platform


11 December 2023
Phase 2 already under way ...

TWO potato-growing cousins have launched a digital platform which aims to provide growers with visibility on operations. 

James and John Fairlie, cousins and neighbouring farmers from Angus, decided to create the bespoke platform to automate manual administrative tasks such as reviewing timesheets and processing payroll and invoicing, while providing real-time operational data and analytics. 

James was UK Young Farmer of the Year 2017 and runs Fairlie Farming Co, a ware potato and cereals business together with a commercial scale biogas plant while John runs Balmirmer Farms' ware potato, cereals, and beef cattle enterprises. Before returning to the family farm, John qualified as a chartered accountant, following which he spent eight years in corporate finance roles. 

Their combined expertise and experience of the challenges facing the potato industry, which is still predominantly operating analogue systems, prompted them to come up with the app which can be used by farm workers and managers.
Yokit provides on-the-go smartphone app-based worklog functions that enables everyone, from family-staffed farming businesses to multi-site operators to easily, digitally record key information on the go including recording hours worked, yields and diesel used.

James said: “Running a busy farm day-to-day, while also having a detailed understanding of where immediate improvements can be extremely challenging, especially when essential information can only be collated from various sources, often well behind the point it could be impactful.”

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The cousins have spent two years developing the app from when they first came up with the idea after facing significant post-harvest month end paperwork piles. 

"We want to make daily admin tasks easier for everyone in farming and so we designed Yokit to be incredibly simple for all users at all levels," said James.

The interface also gives farmers visibility on operations, with real-time access to information that can be easily analysed to drive decision making.

Kyle Kennedy, a computer science Master’s graduate who has developed high profile projects, such as protecting London from airborne threats during the Olympic games, is collaborating with the cousins and is Yokit's Technology Lead. 

James Fairlie said phase two of Yokit is already under way.  

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