Egg and poultry companies in the north west of England are among the first to be awarded a slice of a £20m programme aiming to use digital technology to boost growth.
Bell Mount Farming in Penrith, which supplies the award winning Lakes free-range eggs company brand, and Sedbergh-based Eggbase, are set to introduce advanced manufacturing methods thanks to the financial support through the UK Government’s Made Smarter Programme.
UK Business and Industry Minister Nadhim Zahawi said the programme would enable manufacturers to access advanced digital technologies with the aim of driving growth and increasing productivity while reducing costs.
“The investment will support a multi-million-pound boost to the local economy, keeping the region at the forefront of the latest innovations.”
Bell Mount Farming owners David and Helen Brass are keen to adopt big data and analytics technology to boost egg production by ensuring the conditions are optimal for free-range hens.
“At present, there is no real time data collection system in place across the UK laying flocks to monitor egg laying hens. The match funding will enable our ambitions to invest in a free-range egg management system to monitor the health of hens to optimise welfare and egg production.
“This will provide a first step in the collection of a unique data set that will be shared by industry stakeholders, improve performance, welfare and aid research into the industry’s most pressing problems,” said Mr Brass.
Eggbase is an independent provider of software and data solution designed to give farmers and businesses across the poultry sector a competitive advantage.
Anne Fleck, managing director, said the funding would help improve the quality of the data using digital technologies: “This will improve bird welfare, decision making, innovation and transparency through the sustainable use of digital technology.
“Agri-IT will play a major role in being able to feed the world’s growing population through efficiency of production.”