By Jacquie Ryrie
Improving Information Management for Broilers
By Jacquie Ryrie
A unique new venture is currently taking flight in the poultry
industry. The Poultry Portal, designed by technology expert Randy
Wolgemuth and broiler producer Patrick Bartel, is on its way –
providing a secure, networked information management structure
exclusively for the broiler sector.
A unique new venture is currently taking flight in the poultry industry. The Poultry Portal, designed by technology expert Randy Wolgemuth and broiler producer Patrick Bartel, is on its way – providing a secure, networked information management structure exclusively for the broiler sector. With a blend of individual farm management processes, and industry-wide information and resources, the new system offers significant time- and money-saving applications for all levels of the industry. The aim is to provide “point and click” access to feed evaluations, veterinary information, and individual barn productivity assessments, as well as a host of report management functions.
“The intention is to give producers the access to a quicker, more efficient way of manipulating records, and the ability to integrate it with other information to assist them in making good management decisions,” says Wolgemuth. “The larger broiler industry will also benefit from a secure, private tool chest to build vastly improved information sharing and marketing resources, as well as having a flexible resource for future applications.”
The foundation for the system is an on-farm database, intended to replace the paper trail between the barn, house, shop, and with outside partners such as the local feed mill. Individual producers will have a simplified means of tracking purchasing and inventories, maintaining flock records, as well as retrieving instantaneous data on weights and quota information. It can also be used to observe market trends, and monitor cash flow. Says Wolgemuth “Poultry Portal
will provide individual producers with an easy way to pinpoint inefficiencies, make adjustments, and improve profitability accordingly.”
The producer would have the capabilities to compare barn against barn and easily correlate inputs to outputs. This could show the producer that spending on barn improvement is justified – if the improved barn can increase performance. According to Bartel, “I have a barn that was consistently making less money. With a graph, this was very easy to pinpoint. Averaging out my production loss over a year, it became evident that it would pay back to spend on farm improvements.”
This system would allow the producer to see if different clean-out practices, water, lighting or feed programs are making an impact on production. Any performance indicator can be tracked and graphed in a way that will identify problem areas. Looking outward, benchmarking will show the weak spots in comparison to industry averages; and clarify where attention is needed.
Regulatory compliance will also be significantly easier to manage, with the added benefit of being able to interpret and use some of the information collected for making decisions. Feed mills and producers will be able to better manage the feed supply, and to improve communications throughout the system. This would also allow for bin inventory monitoring, and allow producers to make use of HACCP and CFIA record information.
In addition, all loads of feed will be entered and ready to use for the Safe, Safer, Safest program. “Retrieving, reporting, and interpreting compliance-related data would become a streamlined process”, says Bartel. “There is a lot of good information contained in these reports that isn’t used because it is too difficult to integrate it into a useful format. Poultry Portal will give industry a way to take all the available information and reduce it to a targeted, individualized report that will enhance the range of factors that a producer can analyze and monitor.”
Obviously, the system comes at a cost, and there needs to be benefits throughout the system to justify these expenditures. At the producer level, there are some significant advantages – but what about the upstream industry?
According to Craig Mackie, poultry business director at Landmark Feeds, “The need for communication, where “benchmarking” is so critical to performance, has never been more front and centre in modern broiler and turkey operations. A secure, web-based producer, processor and industry partnered information system has worked in other livestock sectors, and I feel will work for a poultry industry going forward. The “Poultry Portal” will benefit all stakeholders where bottom-line performance is the driver for improved results.”
Other benefits to the larger marketing chain include an improved – and secure – vehicle for information transfer between partners, and an enhanced capability to provide food traceability data, emergency alerts, animal health resources, and marketing information to an individual, a select group of partners, or an industry wide audience. This would reduce the number of individual calls from producers requesting the same information, and would considerably speed up individual response times. There would also be a significant cost savings if all segments of the industry used a standardized system to record, synthesize, and report data.
According to Wolgemuth, “The greatest advantage of the Poultry Portal system is that each individual user can determine what information will be contained and manipulated in his/her own system, can pick and choose which outside data to incorporate, and can decide what elements should be shared with other partners. The ability to synthesize and share information with ease, in a universally consistent format, is a huge benefit to all levels of the industry.”
If you would like more information on the Poultry Portal program, contact Randy Wolgemuth tel: 204-782-3000; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or visit their website: www.poultryportal.ca n