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Despite UK poultry consumption continuing to rise with associated production up 2.2% compared to this time last year, it is one of the sectors that still needs greater investment in technology to aid supply chain visibility.
Mick Keyes, chief technology officer at Poultry Sense says that retailers and processors are facing increasing pressure from consumers, who want to understand where their food comes from, how it is produced, and the environmental impact of production.
But he explains, to achieve this, aligned data throughout the supply chain, that can be readily analysed and interpreted, is key.
“‘Data is king’ but currently the data available within the poultry industry is not being used to its full potential,” adds Mick. “Elements of the supply chain lack integration, making it difficult to collate and analyse data accurately and effectively.
“The poultry food supply chain is one of the most complex logistical processes, with many touchpoints required from bird production through to consumer purchase.
“However, advancements in technology, such as wireless sensors, secure IoT platform-based software, and blockchain technology will allow targeted, optimised, highly accurate data that cannot be modified, to be recorded from farm to fork,” he explains.
It is this type of technology that will allow the poultry industry to take the next step forward and achieve full supply chain visibility and traceability which consumers are crying out for.
“That said while technology provides the tools to make this possible, collaboration with domain experts is key.
“Producers, vets, nutritionists and consumer groups are key when it comes to interpreting and understanding the physical data and analytics produced by this technology, so evidence-based decisions can be made on bird health, welfare and performance at farm-level,” adds Mick
“For processors and retailers, a reliable data set means supply and demand predictive modelling can take place on many components to include feed requirements, bird quantities and sizes. This will allow processors to know when, where and how they can fulfil retailer demand,” he adds.
“This technology will also mean that supply chain adjustments will be more efficient and issues such as recalls can be resolved quickly.
“Supply chain integration and visibility is going to be key in increasing consumer confidence and helping the industry to continue move forward,” concludes Mick.
 DEFRA, 2020, United Kingdom Poultry and Poultry Meat Statistics – April 2020
Laura Guedemann graduated from Trier University, Germany, in 2017 with a Master’s degree in Survey Statistics and Economics. She worked as a statistics research assistant until early 2020 and specialised in data quality assessment, statistical modelling and the use of multivariate statistical methods for data exploration.
Laura’s passion for data and her love for the UK led her to move to Exeter and start working at Poultry Sense. As a data analyst, she enjoys working closely with vets and exploring and analysing poultry data to help improve farm efficiency and animal health.
Barry Thorp is a veterinarian who graduated from Glasgow University. He has specialised in poultry for most of his very successful career. He brings to Poultry Sense a diverse set of experience, skills and knowledge developed during his time working in academia at Edinburgh and Melbourne Universities, research (Roslin Research Institute) for a multinational primary breeder (Aviagen), and latterly established a highly successful division of the St David’s Poultry Team in Scotland.
Barry has a PhD, is a Diplomate of the European College of Poultry Veterinary Science and a member of the European Poultry Veterinary Study Group.
Poultry Sense CTO
Mick Keyes is an independent adviser specialising in the development and implementation of sensor and analytic based technologies for the food, agriculture and life science industries. Mick has more than 20 years industry experience working on several pharma and food traceability government led initiatives globally.
Until recently, Mick was a Chief Technologist for the HPE Enterprise Group at HPE. Here, his role included the architecture of integrated advanced business solutions for HPE’s global customer base, as well as strategy planning for new IOT and analytics business initiatives. He was part of a worldwide implementation team driving HPE’s IOT and analytics strategy across several industries, including government, life sciences, food and agriculture and manufacturing.
Mick currently sits on government advisory boards focused on developing future global competitiveness for their economies, and in the past has represented industry on the world economic forum (WEF) working group focused on the application of innovative technologies to address the future of global food security and improved healthcare.
An evangelist and practitioner of social innovation with a strong focus on global food supply, healthcare and technology-enabled innovation, Mick joins Poultry Sense at Chief Technology Officer.
Keith has over 30 years of experience in industrial automation throughout Europe, Australasia and North America including applications as varied as track and trace technology for pharmacovigilance, RFID for industrial asset management, livestock traceability, electro–mechanical applications and associated sensing technologies, and communications solutions for both WAS and LAN applications.
Keith is heading-up IoT application and convergence technologies at Poultry Sense. This includes the development of wireless sensing ‘plug and play’ technologies to enable multiple environmental measurements.
Keith has introduced and developed smart utility solutions into the agri-health and productivity sector. He works with a number of companies and organisations in the development of such technology, with a specific focus on livestock health and performance monitoring.
Keith originally trained as a mechanical engineer but has developed significant expertise in the electro-mechanical sector, with a focus on electronic applications and associated software integrations.
Alex graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2016 with a first-class degree in physics. Wanting to try something new she began working in farming, and quickly became interested in how data can be used to improve agricultural practices.
In 2019 she began working as the data analyst for Poultry Sense, drawing on her past experience working on data analysis projects for Twitter, Fermilab, CERN, UCLA, and in digital advertising.
She enjoys collaborating with vets and applying statistical and machine learning techniques to explore how data can be used to improve farm efficiency and animal health.
In her spare time Alex runs an agricultural recruitment company, BarnDoor, and enjoys hiking in mountains and exploring wild places.
CEO and Managing Director
Alan qualified from the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Medicine in Edinburgh in 1988 and first joined St David’s Veterinary Group as a general farm practice vet before taking a partnership in the St David’s farm and equine business in 1992. This was followed by the formation of St David’s Poultry Team in 1995.
In 2001, Alan became more involved in the intensive poultry department of St David’s and realised the value of data, remote diagnostics and preventive medicine.
Alan has extensive experience in many areas of poultry production undertaking research in the layer sector with brachyspira identification and treatment and with the development of autogenous vaccines.
His proactive approach to his work has also radically changed the thinking of many game rearers and keepers and this holistic preventive approach has assisted in reducing stock losses and medication bills within this industry.
Alan is very much focused on a holistic approach to veterinary medicine and believes that the correct monitoring of the environment, nutrition and biosecurity is the key to reducing disease in the poultry sector.
After graduating from Nottingham Vet school with a First Class, the St David’s Poultry Team internship was an excellent way to experience a true poultry veterinary practice. A move to the practice’s base in Shropshire involved working with a variety of different poultry types including broilers, layers, pullets, broiler breeders and game birds. Needing to be closer to her home farm in Cumbria, resulted in a transition to the Veterinary Adviser role at Poultry Sense.
Suzy’s position sees her supporting producers with the interpretation of real-time, on-farm data to optimise bird health and welfare.