TRIALS are underway at a broiler farm supplying Avara Foods, examining three smart-sensor systems and their application in poultry production.
Tech from Poultry Sense, Greengage and Intelia will be assessed over the next 12 months at Courteenhall Farms.
The farm estate has installed the state-of-the-art systems in six out of eight of their broiler sheds – with the remaining two left as a control – to evaluate their effectiveness over the next 12 months.
All three systems capture temperature, humidity, CO2, and ammonia levels.
Other parameters such as LUX, water usage, heat mapping/flock distribution functions, weight prediction modelling, and audio cues to alert to stress calls can be monitored.
Sensors capture information as frequently as every 15 minutes, giving a high level of granularity to the data, which is processed by software that interprets and displays information on an online portal.
The data is tracked, with the ability to perform trend analysis and benchmarking, and the farm can make evaluations on an hourly, daily, weekly, for each flock cycle and over 12 months.
Managers could use this information to spot trends, identify potential issues, allow quicker reactions, and potentially prevent adverse outcomes.
The trials are designed to determine to what extent smart-monitoring technology can aid a stockperson in managing a flock of broilers.
Ways of improving
Samuel Laing of Avara Foods said: “We are always looking for ways of improving on-farm, whether that’s welfare, performance or sustainability, and hopefully, these trials will deliver on all three.
“I hope to see improved performance and welfare outcomes, with a higher degree of uniformity within, and between, flocks.
“This improved management would also help reduce feed consumption, water usage and reduce medication usage, all contributing to a more sustainable method of production with higher welfare for the birds.”
The trial will last 12 months to consider the effect of seasonal changes, and to gather enough data to validate the technologies.
Poultry Manager at Courteenhall Farms, Carl Fryett, added: “Whilst the restraints of avian influenza have made it challenging to get this trial underway, I am hopeful there will be numerous positive outcomes from utilising such high-tech equipment, which will aid the management decisions I take when caring for each flock.”