Farm intelligence, a current industry buzz phrase, is quickly catching on and before long will become part of every successful farmer’s day-to-day operations. Smart farming allows growers to combine new technology and observation techniques, along with data science, to maximise poultry health, welfare and biosecurity, as well as business efficiencies.
Here’s a look at a modern case study in farm intelligence: The new state-of-the-art farms and hatchery for Aviagen SAU, which is based in Northeast Spain, and supplies farmers throughout Spain, Portugal and Morocco with quality broiler breeder chicks.
Aviagen SAU has recently undergone a period of significant investment and a strategic restructure of their production base, which is scheduled for completion in December of this year. Starting in 2016, the project includes 4 new grandparent (GP) farms, a new centralised hatchery and the development of existing farms, doubling Aviagen SAU’s capacity to 160,000 GP chicks per year.
This throughput will translate to 7.2 million parent stock (PS) per year and will guarantee the region’s self-sufficiency in providing producers in Spain, Portugal and Morocco with a reliable supply of breeding stock.
Strategic farming for biosecurity and security of supply
The new farming structure offers the highest biosecurity and a balanced production capacity. Aviagen SAU facilities are now arranged in 3 production clusters, approximately 200 kilometres away from one another – a geographic separation that not only minimises disease threat but also heightens security of supply by spreading out the production capability.
The new Aviagen SAU operations have taken advantage of the latest advances in farm technology to not only keep up with the region’s growing need for chicken meat, but also ensure optimal welfare, biosecurity, and productivity.
Biosecurity: Biosecurity is the answer to secure the supply of poultry to communities throughout the SAU region, and thanks to farm intelligence, the biosecurity of Aviagen facilities there is second to none. Smart systems monitor everyone and everything that come into contact with the birds. Here are just a few examples:
- Reduced access means reduced risk, and that’s why every employee is issued a card and a personal code to access the facility. (As the system develops, facial recognition will replace the code system.) Employees and visitors have different security levels, depending on the needed access areas. (For example, a delivery truck driver is granted access only to the egg storage room.)
- Shower facilities and showering protocol have been designed to ensure best possible hygiene and mitigate biosafety risk.
- Digital tracking restricts employees from accessing two production facilities in one day.
- Managers can see all farm access information from mobile devices in real-time and in multiple languages, and they are notified immediately of any biosecurity breaches.
All of these smart measures are put in place so farmers can track activity and reduce disease risks, ensuring a secure supply of poultry to communities throughout the region.
Climate control: Optimal conditions for temperature, humidity and air flow in both bird housing and egg rooms are automatically maintained and checked using monitoring equipment. And, bird health and comfort levels are assessed by gauging their body temperatures, along with air-quality factors such as carbon dioxide and ammonia. When conditions become unacceptable, farmers can be notified on their personal devices 24/7.
Farm efficiency: The chain-feeder technology used in SAU farms promotes efficient feed distribution by accurately measuring feed and water intake, and providing uniform nutrition for every bird. Likewise, sensors known as flow meters send alerts when drinking lines are broken. Additionally, automatic scales placed throughout the farm are used to collect and record data such as bird weight and flock uniformity.
Big Data: Data is collected in real-time from the many sensors, scales and monitoring systems placed throughout the SAU farms. Data is analysed and improvements put in place to achieve optimum environments for birds. Managers can compare the data against production forecasts and processing targets to achieve greater accuracy, which puts them in control, and greater control means greater economic benefits.
New era of supply chain transparency: Through today’s digital advances, we can have a higher level of visibility throughout the supply chain than ever before. Leveraging these advances, an app allows customers of SAU farms to trace the journey of their chicks in real time using their phones and personal devices.
Positioned for future success
Aviagen is committed to its customers in Spain, Portugal and Morocco, and implements continuous improvement to promote their ongoing success. The popularity of Aviagen birds is growing right along with the region’s need for a healthy source of quality nutrition. Aviagen’s investment in the poultry industry’s most advanced farming technology will strengthen the SAU region’s ability to supply the region with stock, while offering unmatched biosecurity and efficiency, as well as performance, health and welfare.