Ian Wheal is on a mission to improve the livestock sector and the communication in the supply chain.
His company, Breedr, looks set to shake up the way farmers breed, rear, sell and buy their livestock.
Growing up on a mixed farm in southern Australia, Ian Wheal felt there was a better way to market livestock.
“I was frustrated after rearing the very best animals, we had limited influence over the marketing and often no feedback as to the quality,” he explains.
After studying robotics, he thought about doing something around livestock ID tags, but knew it wasn’t quite right. He then built up knowledge of supply chains, working as a business consultant for big food brands such as Kraft and Coca-Cola. But farming was always his passion and after around 15 years, he launched Breedr.
“I created Breedr to help farmers be more productive, understand their animals better, and work better across the supply chain,” says Ian.
“I realised communication down the supply chain was almost non-existent, even though all actors in the chain had problems stemming from a lack of communication.”
Processors have little visibility of the supply coming through, farmers are not sure what to supply and when, and retailers say they have problems with consistency of product, he adds.
Breedr uses farm data to help producers breed and rear better so they can improving beef quality, meet supply chain requirements, and grow their profits.
Farmers feed their livestock data into the Breedr platform, which is integrated with several farm management tools. This can also be accessed via the Breedr app.
The platform enables farmers to monitor the performance of individual animals. For example, sire performance charts show which sires have fathered the fastest growing calves, helping farmers breed a more profitable herd.
Environmental targets can also be worked towards, which could offer big opportunities in the future as retailers look for ‘greener’ meat.
Farmers sell their livestock via the Breedr Marketplace: The performance and history of individual animals is made available to other users, creating a transparent supply chain, so buyers (whether farmer, processor, or retailer) can purchase with certainty that they are getting a top quality animal.
The tool will also predict when a particular animal might be ready, so that farmers can forward sell, helping with cash flow.
Breedr is aimed at farmers who want to improve their own herds, but also the wider livestock industry, says Ian, and who want to supply the premium end of the market.
“The farmers we work with are people who want to capture data on their animals.”
“We want to build a network of farmers who believe in commercial profitability, but who also want to hit environmental targets and produce meat of high eating quality.”
Currently, Breedr is working with a group of 25 farmers, but has a waiting list and will be opening up to more users in October, with the aim of taking on 300 farmers by the end of the year.
At the moment beef cattle are included, but the company plans to expand to lamb and pork.
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The competition, supported by BASF and Farm491, is designed to showcase new developments in agricultural technology, and we are inviting entrepreneurs from across the UK to pitch their
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For more information on the competition and £40,000 prize package visit www.aginnovationden.com/