The poultry industry is a sector which is leading the way when it comes to data capture, but technology capable of monitoring real-time data remotely can help the industry to take this to the next level.
While the poultry industry is moving forward at pace, there are still improvements to be made when it comes to accurate data collection and the use of technology to further improve farm efficiencies as well as supply chain traceability.
Wireless sensor technology, which can be set up on farms to monitor bird health and welfare can allow the sector to take a significant step forward.
For example, performance can be monitored remotely, inputting manual data is no longer required, and key health and environmental parameters can be recorded and analysed on one platform.
Suzy Ackerley, veterinary adviser at Poultry Sense, says: “The data we capture in the poultry industry has facilitated improvements in efficiency, above and beyond most other sectors, to include reduced feed conversion ratios, increased resistance to disease and improved yield of meat and eggs.
“As an industry we are already collecting and monitoring data to allow us to benchmark performance. This allows flocks and farms to be compared against others, but it relies on producers manually inputting regular accurate data.”
There are several challenges with the current data capture systems in place, however a remote performance monitoring system will soon be commercially available to help broiler
producers overcome this issue.
Miss Ackerley explains this new technology features wireless sensors which can be set up within poultry houses enabling producers to remotely monitor bird performance.
“The sensors are able to monitor parameters such as house temperature, humidity and bird weight as well as water and feed consumption,” she says.
“This data can then be collated and displayed in a bespoke analytics platform, which can be interpreted by producers, vets and nutritionists, meaning poultry farmers can make data driven, evidence-based decisions.
“This technology allows accurate and reliable data collection on-farm, which can help producers maximise bird performance and also help improve supply chain transparency.
“While one criticism is that remote advice does not replace a physical examination, many of the health and performance issues we deal with can be influenced by the environment within which the birds live, which can be monitored remotely.
“Many vets and poultry producers still value farm visits, but this technology allows vets to be prepared ahead of arrival as they are already equipped with reliable data, so they know what has and is happening on site, allowing visits to be more focused.
“If data and trends can continuously be analysed and many parameters considered all at once, such as feed type, delivery, bird age, flock code and recent vaccinations, then it allows the full picture of bird performance to be seen.”
Remote access to farm data, coupled with detailed analysis helps build a resource that will not only help identify and prevent known issues that can affect bird health, such as extremes in temperature, but will also improve production efficiencies.
Miss Ackerley says: “The system can flag if birds are over or under performing compared to the average performance for that farm, helping vets to make more informed clinical decisions.
“Remote access to farm data allows vets to tailor their advice to each individual farm, allowing them to provide producers with the best advice possible.”