Poultry has been farmed for over 4,000 years. In that time the methods and technology have constantly had to develop to meet the demands of the market. Never has that been more true than now. After all, it’s predicted that we will see chicken meat consumption surpass that of pork by 2022 for the very first time. Quite an achievement.
To meet this growth the poultry farming industry will need to embrace the most innovative and creative ideas. Some may seem a little unconventional even strange, but isn’t that true of all revolutionary ideas?
Understanding and harnessing tomorrow’s technology will give real benefits in production, profitability and animal welfare. All of which are important to forward thinking businesses. So, which of these inspirational technologies should you be implementing? These are our picks of the top three innovations which no poultry farm or factory should be without.
Within the egg laying industry, it is necessary for farmers to incubate and hatch some eggs to replace laying hens. As it has historically been impossible to sex the eggs before hatching, this resulted in male eggs being incubated and allowed to hatch.
To combat this, HatchTech and REWE have teamed up to form SELEGGT together with Prof. Einspanier from Leipzig University. The innovation analyses a tiny droplet of fluid from the egg to reliably determine whether a female or male chick will develop from an egg. Male eggs are sorted out and are used as a valuable resource for feed.
In addition to the obvious cost and efficiency saves this produces, early sexing of the eggs avoids the need to cull unwanted chicks. Resulting in both an increase in margin and making the farm more ethical.
Augmented Reality (AR) enhances a user’s view of the world, either by overlaying information or showing things which the human eye cannot detect.
This technology has many uses in poultry processing, most recently Georgia Tech has been trailing two systems at a processing plant. The first being a location-tracked, head-mounted unit which shows trimmers where and how to prepare a bird via an overlay on their screen. The second uses a laser-scanner in a fixed location close to the line to project trimming instructions directly onto the product.
The second option is by far the easiest and cheapest to implement, requiring no special training and a smaller amount of new equipment to be installed.
AR can also be used by the consumer to receive more information about the source and processes which their food has been through. With transparency becoming increasingly important in all parts of the industry, the benefits of innovative AR implementations should not be overlooked in poultry farming.
Virtual Reality (VR) immerses users in a completely new and control environment. This has a number of uses for the poultry industry, the first being for training. VR can be used to train line works how to trim meat, walk through a house without disturbing the birds or even how to check the animals.
Another use lies with the consumer. Providing users with a virtual tour of a line or facility will give an unprecedented amount of transparency. The great downside here being the high cost of production for this type of service for intangible direct gains.
The third use for VR is possibly the most unusual. Created by professor Austin Stewart at the University of Iowa, Second Livestock places virtual reality headsets on chickens. This allows them to enjoy the free-range life where ever they are, even if they live their lives safe in an urban facility.
Poultry farmers currently rely on very little information to produce their product. This inevitably leads to very limited amounts of information during the production process resulting in avoidable inefficiencies at every step in the process.
With the aim being to produce 1kg of live-weight meat for every 1kg of feed used, knowing where these inefficiencies are creeping in is of utmost importance. Currently it takes 1.4kg of feed to produce 1kg of live-weight meat, so there is still work to be done.
By implementing a supply chain wide Big Data program, more useful information can be generated and shared throughout the industry. This information can then be utilized to increase the efficiency of the industry of a whole.
Data shared can including real-time body weights, feed and water consumption, stress levels by monitoring the living environments of the poultry and even disease management. Implementing and sharing these monitoring processes throughout the supply chain will increase yield and so production ratio.
Like the poultry industry, Bolidt continues to innovate. As a long-standing partner to all stages of the poultry supply changes we understand the challenges facing you today and in the future. If you’d like to see what we can do for you now or what we’re working on next, then sign up for a visit to our Innovation Center or contact Dennis van Grevenbroek.Ask a question
P.O. Box 131
3340 AC Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht
Bolidt Innovation Center
3341 LW The Netherlands
TEL +31 (0)78 684 54 44