Data – is it being used to its full potential?

By Keith Evans, chief technology officer at Poultry Sense

The whole meat supply chain has a challenge to overcome, with continued environmental and sustainability pressures being placed at its door. As poultry is the leading meat protein consumed, this sector needs to pave the way and utilise data and technology to its full potential to ensure the industry stays one step ahead.

The positive is that there are plenty of opportunities for the poultry industry to embrace data to improve on-farm efficiencies and increase bird health, welfare and performance, while meeting growing retail and consumer demand for full supply chain transparency.

Large quantities of data are already being recorded on-farm, often as a tick box exercise to meet processor requirements. But currently there is a missing link between using both  historic and real-time data paired with informed analysis and insight to enable better evidence-based decisions at a farm level.

With advancements such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and LoRaWAN technology, it’s never been easier to ensure reliable connectivity that delivers real-time data via affordable wireless, hardware. This can offer secure connectivity that can be scaled to create large networks within the industry.

Applying this technology will allow producers and vets to monitor live environmental and health parameters such as feed intakes, bird weights, temperatures and water consumption remotely in real-time to help drive bird performance.  

Over time, artificial intelligence, enabled by machine learning, will also mean any potential health or welfare issues can be predicted at a much earlier stage to mitigate any performance impacts, ensuring security for the supply chain.   

Traditionally farmers have kept their cards close to their chest when it comes to sharing data with other producers and integrators. However, this mentality will not help us use data to its full potential to boost performance on an individual and industry-wide basis.

By adopting collaborative relationships and applying technology already proven in other industries, we can answer our critics and ensure the whole poultry supply chain is efficient and fully transparent.

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