Farmers were advised to keep asking questions and look at things from the animals’ point of view
Beef and sheep farms can learn from the efficiency drive on poultry farms by continually questioning the way they work and looking at things from the animals’ perspective.
David Speller, owner of Applied Poultry, told delegates at the AHDB beef and lamb stakeholder conference in Warwick last week (November 14) they needed the right mindset to overcome the challenges facing the industry.
In his own drive for efficiency, Mr Speller said he had kept asking himself why things were working the way they were and how the birds experienced things.
It had led to innovative solutions, like being one of the first poultry farms to install underfloor heating after asking why he was heating the room.
“Chicks live on a warm floor, so heat the floor,” he said.
And discovering how a chicken sees the world after installing LED lighting which was not productive.
He had also installed features such as eyenamic cameras and CCTV to understand more about how the birds feel.
Mr Speller added farmers also needed to be aware of what the consumer wants and adapt to new demands, such as putting in windows for daylight. However, he said none of the chickens stay in the daylight as it makes them feel unsafe.
“If you want windows, I will put windows in,” he added.
But he warned gaining efficiency could be costly.
“And things do not always work,” he added.
“But if you do not become more efficient, the market could leave you behind because someone else will be.”