How cutting edge tech can improve chicken houses in Thailand

06-07-2018 | | |
Photo: VidiPhoto
Photo: VidiPhoto

While eyes have been on digital transformation in internet banking, e-commerce and electric vehicles in the Far East, few people realise that one of the largest areas of digitisation has been taking place in the poultry sector.

Charoen Pokphands Foods (CPF)’s Nakhon Ratchasima broiler complex is located about 300 km northeast of Bangkok. The colossal complex is among the most innovative in the world, producing millions of broilers per week for consumers in Thailand and across the world.

The complex is running with some of the most updated technologies available in the poultry sector. These innovations are playing very important roles in giving global consumers first class food safety, animal welfare and traceability.

It is designed in compartment model in line with the World Organisation of Animal Health (OIE). The concept of compartmentalisation is to separate all facilities within the complex from each other under common biosecurity to avoid contamination and epidemics.

Clean and healthy environment

New born baby chicks are transported from hatchery facilities to the broiler house by trucks with air ventilation designed specifically to prevent external contamination.

During their lives, the broilers live in environmentally controlled housing with automatic feeding systems.

Dr Payungsak Somyanotanakul, CPF’s vice president and animal welfare expert, explained that, besides enhancing strict biosecurity in the complex, the technologies being used can significantly improve the living environment for the birds.

“We believe the best quality products must come from the cleanest and healthiest environment. Farmers will no longer need antibiotics growth promoter for healthy and happy chicken,” he said.

The 5 Animal Welfare freedom principles are adopted in the complex too: “It is company policy that farm animals must be free from being hungry or thirsty, discomfort, pain, injury and disease, fear and distress, and being able to express normal behaviour,” he said.

Unlimited food and water

All the broilers are farmed with Evaporative Cooling System (EVAP), a technology that controls temperature and humidity levels across the day and night to provide more comfort in Thailand’s tropical climatic conditions.

Unlimited food and water are given to the birds through the automatic machine while weighing scales are installed inside the chicken house so that they can jump in and play. These scales collect the bird’s weight and send the data to the office where specialists are closely monitoring through teal-time data and live broadcasting.

CPF has recently announced its partnership with JDA Software Inc – a leading supply chain software developer, to accelerate its digital supply chain transformation.

Moving towards digitalisation

Prasit Boondoungprasert, CPF’s chief operating officer, said the company was moving towards digitalisation to improve the efficiency in the operation and provide better consumer satisfaction.

Big data and integrated analytics are the keys to this transformation. With the right information and analysis, the company will be able to forecast the trend as well as conducting cross-functional planning and plant execution more effectively.

“The networking synergy will encourage the company marketing and inspection throughout the supply chain,” said Prasit.

The application will allow the company to closely monitor the operation throughout the integrated broiler chicken business more accurately than in the past. With greater accuracy the company will achieve cost-savings and be able to respond quickly to clients and market demand.

“As one of the world’s leading integrated agro-industrial and food businesses, it is of the utmost importance for CPF to attain the best supply chain visibility to ensure production strength, demand and supply planning accuracy.

“Digitalisation is allowing us to improve our consumer experience, reducing risk, right-sizing our inventory and reducing waste,” he stressed.

Tony Mcdougal Freelance Journalist