Expert opinion

The importance of flock uniformity

Flock uniformity is becoming an increasingly important driver for farmers and processors alike. However, until now there has been no definitive way of measuring or benchmarking this.

With consumer demands increasing and supply chain pressures rising to provide a consistent end product, it’s important that – as an industry – we keep one step ahead by establishing methods to measure that. This key focus for processors and retailers essentially means moving the goalposts for producers and how they think about business performance.

Technology and data will give producers greater control over each individual aspect of bird performance. Photo: Misset
Technology and data will give producers greater control over each individual aspect of bird performance. Photo: Misset

Internet of Things

With advances in technology like the Internet of Things (IoT), it has never been easier to collate real-time data, to benchmark flock performance and uniformity within cycles and compare results with other producers. This can be done securely using affordable, wireless hardware. It allows for supply chain visibility helping to ensure that we’re working together as an industry. Technology and data will give producers greater control over each individual aspect of bird performance, as a small change in any environmental factor, such as feed quality or temperature, can have a significant impact on bird performance and uniformity. Wireless technology in zoned areas can provide a great opportunity for improvements.

Effect of environmental parameters on poultry

For example, trials have been conducted using a complete set of wireless sensors to measure the effect of a 2° variation in temperature on bird performance. This has enabled evidence-based decisions to be made, as correlations between different environmental parameters, such as temperature, feed intake and weight gain, can be analysed. When available real-time data can offer a solution to the whole industry, greater insight and control over bird performance and flock uniformity is provided. It is therefore vital that we have access to this type of data and can use it to its full potential on-farm.