Technology can take farm management to the next level, and a well thought-out investment can help cut costs overall.
Whether you want to transform flock performance, reduce labor costs or upgrade housing infrastructure, there are innovative pieces of kit out there to help streamline operations.
From nutrition and welfare aids to lighting and learning systems, we round up a selection of the latest bits of technology to make on-farm operations easier and more cost-effective.
See also: 8 clever technical innovations for poultry farmers
1. Sanigene Disinfection Gate
Biosecurity vehicle sprayer
The Sanigene Disinfection Gate is designed to improve farm biosecurity by providing 360deg coverage of vehicles.
Vehicles pass slowly through the rectangular gate, which has nozzles located on both sides and above and below the vehicle.
This allows disinfection of the roof, underside and sides of vehicles at site entrances.
The gate is 5.25m high and 4m wide, and a 20m hose is provided for hard-to-reach areas. Automatic sensors can be included and the unit comes with a 230V or 400V electric pump.
Price From £ 7,000
Find out more www.interhatch.com
2. KewLED Sphere
Plug-and-play dimmable light
KewLED Sphere lights can be retrofitted to broiler, layer and pig houses. The spherical shape provides a uniform light distribution to eliminate dark spots and bird clustering in sheds.
Lights are fully dimmable and come in a range of brightness ratings from warm white at 3,000 kelvin though to daylight white at 6,000K.
Units can be mounted vertically or horizontally and have a waterproof rating of IP67, making them suitable for agricultural units.
Price Availability is via wholesaler
Find out more www.kewleds.com/agriculture
3. Pondus Touchless Weigher
Remote, in-shed, camera-based bird weighing system
The Touchless Weigher is a camera system that can calculate bird weights and analyze broiler behavior.
Using sophisticated imagery to take measurements allows a greater cross-section of the flock to be monitored, providing a better representation of weight data for management decisions.
Eliminating the need for hand-weighing samples of birds also reduces staff time, cuts stress for the flock and minimises the chance of spreading infections from workers’ clothing.
Price From £ 1,800
Find out more www.pondus.xyz
4. Greengage Animal Welfare Index
Animal welfare data collector
The data collector acts as the eyes, ears and nose of a stockperson by using cameras and sensors to collect information via sound, emissions and behavior.
Software then analyses the elements collected – such as hen calls, ammonia levels and movement patterns – to create an animal welfare index score.
When this is combined with productivity data the score creates a measure that can be used to assess and improve animal welfare and compliance.
Further analysis of the data in conjunction with vets and consultants can help trace issues with litter or health.
Price Packages from £ 150- £ 1,000, plus monthly subscription
Find out more www.greengage.global
Remote monitoring power
FeedAlert is an app-based silo monitoring system that allows farmers to manage feed remotely.
A range of weighing equipment, from strain gauges to load cells, can be retrofitted to the Collinson silos. Data can be viewed at the silo or remotely using the FeedAlert app.
The app warns users of falling feed levels to avoid outages, provides seven-day forecasting to allow better delivery management, 30-day history and daily use summaries.
It can be shared across the workforce to further reduce risks of outages.
Price Systems start from £ 450
Find out more www.feedalert.co.uk
6. Pruex Bobi HP Spraying System
Ammonia reduction system
Pruex Bobi is a robotic spraying system designed to lower ammonia emissions from pig and poultry production and reduce the need for antibiotics.
A sensor dashboard measures barn ammonia, carbon dioxide, humidity and temperature levels, as well as climatic data from outside the buildings.
An aerosol containing non-infective bacteria is sprayed into the barn to compete with, and reduce, concentrations of harmful organisms such as E coli, pseudomonas and streptococci.
The manufacturer claims an improvement in air quality benefiting staff and bird health and welfare while boosting production.
Price Farrowing buildings from £ 5,000; 12,000-bird flat-deck from £ 7,500; 32,000-bird multi-tier from £ 15,000
Find out more www.pruex.co.uk
7. Cobb Academy
Distance learning platform
The Cobb Academy is a web-based education and training system using industry-leading experts, which aims to help students learn from scratch, refresh existing skills or develop within their current roles.
The modular online platform allows students to learn at a pace that fits around their life and work. Additional material can be downloaded to extend training.
The courses are free to access and at the end of each module, across a variety of courses, students will complete an assessment and receive a certificate.
Find out more www.cobb-vantress.com/academy/hatchieves
8. Siroc Sterling Heater
Heating unit for tall poultry houses
The Siroc Sterling Heater is designed for poultry houses that are 4.5m or higher.
The unit recovers rising warm air and mixes it with incoming cooler air, which falls, creating vertical circulation.
As the unit operates it gradually reduces temperature differences between the ridge and floor to just 0.5C.
Heat is therefore distributed evenly, reducing cold spots and encouraging the flock to spread across the entire floor space.
Find out more www.roxell.com/siroc-sterling-space-heater
9. Pestwest Chameleon Qualis
Low-power consumption LED fly control
Killgerm Chemicals’ Chameleon Qualis LED fly control units give 360deg light distribution from a QuantumX tubular bulb.
This provides better insect attraction than standard 120deg LEDs on the market. It also claims to have the lowest running costs compared with similar fly units.
Based on a 20p / kWh electricity price, the 13W units would cost just £ 23 / year to run. Running costs for standard 20W LEDs would be £ 12 / unit more, and older fluorescent units would cost almost £ 50 more.
Each long-life QuantumX bulb is expected to last a full year of operation.
Find out more www.quantumx.pestwest.com
10. TPI Aeron Wall Inlet
Poultry house wall air inlet
The Aeron Wall Inlet creates directional air jets to provide more precise control when ventilation is at a minimum.
It does this via a W-shaped inner valve rather than the flat panel used in standard units. With a middle-hinged inner valve, the air also flows underneath the valve when it is opened by more than one-third.
This guides the air downwards to give a cooling effect. The inner valve has seals to prevent air leakage and newly designed springs for smooth operation.
Find out more www.climatec.co.uk
11. Dosatron SmartDosing +
Self-monitoring water-powered dosing
SmartDosing + is based on Dosatron’s drinking water treatment pumps, but includes a range of high-tech features.
These include real-time recording and access of pump data. Combined with stored information, this allows flock managers to optimise the levels, timing and duration of treatments and medication.
The unit is also self-monitoring and will alert users of treatment tank levels, water overflows, leaks and pump faults. Software supplied can be configured to individual flock management practice.
Find out more www.smartdosing.dosatron.com/en