Integrated poultry operations tell me that they recognize that data-driven production is the future. Data, however, has the potential to inform or overwhelm producers with more information and make it harder, not easier to act.  

Experts say that data will be next profit stream for poultry producers, but it leaves many concerned. Who will own my data? How will it be managed? Controlled? Shared? Many question whether technology will reduce or even eliminate the need for humans on farm or will it end up simply creating a new layer of specialized jobs. 

The promise of data

Other industries have shown what is possible. Consumers, for example, have shown they are willing to share personal data with GPS systems, sports or news apps for mutual benefit. 

What benefits could the poultry industry gain from sharing data? Hospitals provide a further example. Patients’ medical records are now shared between doctors, labs, and insurers within a network. Robots carry samples between wards instead of nurses or other employees. 

Sensors collect data in real time. Blockchain ensures patient records are secure. As such, people benefit from the convenience of not having to provide lab results and recount medical history when visiting a new doctor within the network. Data interoperability prevents one doctor or even hospital from monopolizing the data, incentivizes all players to improve their product and results in a better result for the end-user. 

The sources of poultry data have never been greater. Poultry processing equipment companies, leading genetics providers, nutritional feed and feed supplements and data benchmarking reporters all provide data that could have value to producers if integrated into a single format. 

Equally, companies such as M-Tech and CAT Squared, both part of the Poultry Tech Webinar Series, provide intuitive ways for producers to integrate and absorb that information.

Benefits to consumers

Data interoperability and digital transformation can also offer benefits to poultry consumers. They demand demonstrations of transparency of the food they consume or the ingredients involved in the making of it. 

Consumers (or ‘prosumers’) have never been more conscious about their diets, imposing on suppliers their personal or ethical values and expectations and aspirations for issues such as sustainability. Poultry producers who respond to those preferences have the opportunity to capture more value.  

Needs to be easy to understand and use

The key to developing effective data platforms value will be to present it in a way that make it easy to take decisions in real time. User sessions I have attended from livestock producers suggest that screens need to be easy to understand, with clear data and understandable actions. 

Many fail to deliver on these simple requirements and increasingly start-ups are creating their own APIs to make sure their data is usable and can be integrated with other platforms, but this can drain their precious people and financial resources. 

Bottlenecks to smart precision farming

Another concern is that if integrated operations don’t capitalize on the increasing availability of information flows from sensors and other novel technologies, the lack of effective data platforms become a bottleneck preventing them from achieving the promise and profitability of smart precision farming.  

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Broiler, turkey and egg producers recognize that data-driven farming could provide multiple benefits, such as optimizing inventory, precise feed formulation and reducing feed costs, enabling better production through precision nutrition, and responding better to consumer demands.

In short, what the poultry supply chain needs is for all moving parts to work symbiotically through shared data or data interoperability as it is known in the technology world. 

Data interoperability allows different systems to communicate their data with each other on a shared interface. It allows systems to not only create, exchange and consume data, but create shared expectations and understanding of the data presented. 

The poultry data land grab

Some question the future of this data and who will own it? Leading food companies such as McDonalds, Chick-Fil-A, Burger King, other food retailers or restaurant suppliers potentially might invest or take stakes in leading poultry data players. 

Look to the example of Elanco’s investment in AgriStats. How soon before Amazon, Google, Apple, IBM or Microsoft decide they want to be part of the poultry data land grab?”

Can integrated poultry operators benefit from this? Consumers accept sharing their e-mails, their location and travel data with big data companies do so in return for free and valuable services. Can poultry producer also profit from their willingness to share data?   

Is poultry data “the new oil?” Just like landowners sitting on oil reserves, we may not know the real value of this data until we allow others in the supply chain to “drill” into it.  

What’s coming next

For more on the technologies set to advance the poultry industry, join industry-changing innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs, technology experts, investors and leading poultry producers at the Poultry Tech Webinar Series, scheduled for November 2, 4, 10, 11, 17, 30 and December 2.

During the webinar series, industry experts will preview what’s coming next – from prospective solutions to developing technology – for the poultry industry. 

This webinar series is proudly sponsored by: Arm & Hammer, Aviagen, Baader, Boehringer Ingelheim, Cargill, Ceva, Chore-Time, Cobb, Evonik, Marel, Phibro Animal Health, Staubli and Zoetis.

Visit our website for more details on the webinar series, topics and speakers.

Register for free today and join us for a glimpse at the future of the poultry industry.