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Big data: a major added value to the entire poultry value chain

Optimising the poultry value chain is crucial in this time when hatcheries are becoming larger and more integrated and end customers are putting more pressure on the total chain. This article sheds a light on how the use of big data can improve the overall performance of hatcheries as well as of the entire value chain.

By Rudy Verhelst, Business Development & Product Management

The growing importance of value chain optimisation

Optimising the poultry value chain has become ever more important. First, the poultry meat and egg consumption continues to increase as a result of the growing average consumption per person in certain regions of the world, as well as the general population growth. To meet this rising demand, poultry companies are evolving from small, local enterprises into large, integrated businesses. Second, modern consumers want to know what is inside their food, where it is from and how it is produced. Because of this, retailers are putting more pressure on the value chain. Not only do they want consistent volumes and quality at a low cost, but they also demand full compliance in terms of food safety and traceability. To meet these ever-increasing requirements, each poultry chain segment has to deliver the best possible quality in the most efficient way to the next segment, so that in the end, overall quality and efficiency of the value chain are guaranteed. 

Hatcheries: a key stage in poultry production

Hatcheries play a key role in the value chain as it is their job to maximise the genetic potential that is inside the hatching eggs to ensure a reliable output of healthy, uniform day-old chicks. In daily practice, this means planning millions of hatching eggs with different backgrounds (not only relating to flock type, but also the conditions experienced by the egg prior to incubation), fitting them into several setters per day making sure to establish correct loading while dealing with variable operator skills, delivering millions of healthy, uniform chicks to many customers, and analysing figures such as mortality and meat yield.

Clearly, that is not an easy job. At the same time, it is notable how much data hatcheries have available without fully using that data to facilitate their operations and improve their performance. Being the nerve centre of the value chain, hatcheries connect different segments of the poultry industry, including breeders, broiler farms and layer farms. It involves a massive amount of data that can be captured, analysed and used, such as:

  • Breeder performance
  • Egg storage time
  • Fertility
  • Hatchability
  • Cause of embryonic mortality (breakout analyses)
  • Records of machine parameters

However, this data is often kept in hand-written records, or, when digitised, the common method is to use spreadsheets or separate software systems that are not able to communicate with each other, meaning that the data is scattered across these systems rather than united in one place. Consequently, hatchery data is often not being used to its fullest potential. 

Intelligent hatchery software

At Petersime, we believe that unlocking the potential of data presents a major opportunity to improve the overall performance of hatcheries as well as of the entire value chain. With Eagle Trax™, Petersime offers a secure cloud-based data solution that connects hatcheries to the world of big data. Eagle Trax™ allows modern hatcheries to digitise, analyse and optimally use the wealth of valuable data they have available. It is the first intelligent hatchery software that turns data into maximum poultry performance:

  • It offers digitised, automated working procedures for hatchery staff members, eliminating human error. This reduces the dependency on operator skills and actively contributes to better overall results.
  • Thanks to its predictive management tools for hatchery maintenance and spare part stock, unplanned downtime is avoided and business continuity is ensured.
  • It automatically provides the best incubation program for setters and hatchers, maximising incubation results.

What is more, as a cloud-based software, Eagle Trax™ can be accessed anytime and anywhere, regardless of device type (desktop, tablet or smartphone) or user location (office, home or field).

But it does not end there. Being a future-proof solution, new functionalities and modules will be continuously added to Eagle Trax™ over time:

  • With the integration of Artificial Intelligence, the software will take data from each production phase, combine it with historical data from the hatchery and connect all data to optimise performance across the total value chain.
  • Benchmarking tools will make it possible to benchmark results against other hatcheries or against industry standards.
  • Eagle Trax™ will track and trace the movement of eggs and chicks, ensuring full traceability from fork to farm and allowing consumers to trace each egg or piece of chicken in the supermarket back to the farm. The tracking and tracing will also allow hatcheries’ rapid response in case of contamination, guaranteeing optimal biosecurity.
  • Ultimately, Eagle Trax™ ensures hatcheries will always maximise the genetic potential of each hatching egg and deliver predictable output of the most profitable day-old chicks for everybody involved in the poultry value chain. 

In summary

Optimising the poultry value chain has become ever more important. The approach to use big data for better overall poultry performance has a positive industry-wide impact as well as important advantages to the individual hatchery. Don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about the Eagle Trax™ cloud-based data solution. 

With Eagle Trax™, hatcheries and poultry integrations can future-proof their business to overcome today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.