Welcome Lizzie Brass

We are delighted to welcome our Data Analyst intern Lizzie to the OPTIfarm family while currently attending Newcastle University, specialising in Animal Production Science.

Lizzie Brass

Lizzie has always been passionate about poultry, growing up on a family farm in Cumbria where her parents keep commercial laying hens, organic and free-range. 

“Some of my first memories are out in the fields with the hens. Upon working in the family business my love for welfare became apparent.” Says Lizzie.

This drive is what led Lizzie to her previous commercial role in agricultural research for The Lakes Free Range Egg Company.

To further her knowledge, research skills and broaden her knowledge about the advancements in agriculture as a whole, university was naturally the next step.

“I don’t think anyone can deny that while we have some of the best welfare and agricultural practices in the world, British agriculture still has room for improvement! It’s an exciting prospect my generation faces.”

New experiences

Lizzies experience in the poultry industry is predominantly in the Laying Hen sector where she has worked throughout the whole supply chain.

“When I had the opportunity to leave my comfort zone and gain experience with broilers at OPTIfarm for the summer I jumped at the chance.”

Currently, she is getting to know the systems of retrieving client data, and then utilising it so our clients can make adjustments to improve the bird’s welfare at farm level.

“One of the biggest strengths that I’ve identified so far is that the real-time data collection can lead to the alteration of conditions in the broiler shed within the hour- a unique service offered by OPTIfarm.”

While Lizzie is a Data Analyst Intern, we believe it is a great opportunity to gain experience on the farm, so she can see the client’s perspective of OPTIfarm and how farmers can utilise the data we are collecting.

“I’ve been lucky to place chicks on various farms and worked my way through the brooding period. David and Raja identified for the best intern experience I should visit multiple different sites with unique setups and equipment.”

Lizzie has been a great addition to the team already, now heading into her first set of night shifts to truly experience our around-the-clock service. 

Heatwave Issues

Keep you eye on the detail

As we start to see a heatwave across the UK and in Northern Europe. We are regularly seeing the same issues reoccurring and they are often around attention to the finer detail.


Check your ventilation can ramp up quickly and control temperature in the morning, we often see ventilation chasing temperature too early in the day. Make sure fans run at capacity and aren’t hindered, fans will lose efficiency over time so check your ventilation can manage bird requirement.

Water consumption

Provide birds with cool water where possible and flush those drinker lines. Keep water consumption at an optimal level.


As Optifarm is with your birds 24 hours a day, every 90 minutes we often observe these fine details efficiently and report back to you on the observations we make.

Intro Offer

As an introduction to new customers and whilst many of you are concentrating on the harvest we are happy to work with you for a two-month period for a one-off price, leaving you with peace of mind that your birds are being closely monitored by industry experts.

Ask us which areas we can assist you on

How to increase farm performance

With the pandemic still having lingering effects on production, it might seem a daunting task to start implementing aspects of smart farming but now is the perfect time to embrace the data. 

Data gathering, machine learning, intelligent analytics, and new thinking research are all designed to be used to progress productivity and animal welfare.

“The most important part of efficiency is being able to analyse data if you can’t analyse what you’re doing you can’t improve,” Russell Jones, head of commercial development.

Interpreting Farm Data for greater efficiency

  • Employ farm staff for their animal management skills and let them work with the animals. Good, long-term management is hard to find, so use the data available to assist and empower their passion, provide information in real-time to allow evidence based decisions to be made. 
  • Focus on the detail, farming is all about the detail. Fine tweaking and consistency is what it’s all about, it doesn’t matter if it’s broiler, breeders, Commercial layers, Pigs, or fish farming it’s all relatively the same, it is attention to the fine detail that makes all the difference.
  • Everything has a reason behind it so try to dig deep and find the reasons why. Get to the root of the problem, not just the distraction.
  • Make sure you turn any data into information and turn information into action otherwise data is worthless.

“Knowing and not doing is the same as not knowing”

  • Consistently question what you have done and what you are doing, this will help you get the best out of your technical systems and manage an ever-changing genetic requirement.
  • Always consider the bird’s psychology – behaviour and performance are all linked to the mental state of the bird, much the same as humans. Bird psychology is hugely important. Combining a knowledgeable farm team and real-time, 24/7, remote support will always be a bonus for the welfare of the livestock.

Data is a resource that’s just being tapped into, recording and using this data to provide insights will develop and the whole of the Agricultural industry is looking into it.  

Recording data accurately and simply is the challenge.  Adoption of recording and sharing that data can be a little sticky for some, that’s why we will continue to bridge that gap with OPTIfarm service. 


Commercial News

Commercial News

We are thrilled to announce that  Russell  Jones is working alongside OPTIfarm to push our commercial development.  Russell will be guiding our global offering for Pig and Poultry along with our other plans for the rest of 2021 and beyond. 


After 30 years in the agricultural and livestock industry, starting with a sales career in pig and poultry equipment, and then in nutrition and animal health. Later running his own consulting business that focused on renewable energy and farm-scale anaerobic digestion, to then having many successful years at Cobb as their commercial manager. 


Russell is a welcomed addition to our drive for efficiency through data, analytics, and utilising systems that are efficient at getting the best out of your livestock. 


Russell Jones

Not Russell Crowe

 “The most important part of efficiency is being able to analyse data if you can’t analyse what you’re doing you can’t improve,” says Russell.  


“The future of the poultry industry globally will see an emphasis on optimising efficiency, bird welfare and further development of emerging markets. We are witnessing a shortage of labour in certain markets and a skills gap in others”  


“OPTIfarm watch a farm 24 hours a day 7 days a week together with a farm team and that has to be a bonus when we considering welfare” 

The thing that stood out for Russell about  OPTIfarm initially is the cost-effective way of providing farmers and integrators with a resource. With the growing demand on production with a higher welfare aspect the industry comes under pressure but the staff at farm level even more so. 

 “Farms are larger with less staff using ever evolving technology and this puts huge pressure at farm level to get the job done efficiently and with diligence.” 


The days are not long enough to do all the welfare standards, general management, administrating, health and safety, feed, everything that you need to do to run a farm: Plus receive ongoing training, utilise technical systems and manage an ever-changing genetic requirement.”  


For the price of two days labour a month OPTIfarm is a 24 hour service that gives farm staff an extra resource to produce quality welfare orientated chicken.  

What's the next step for OPTIfarm?

Data is the resource that’s just being tapped into, recording and using this data to provide insights will develop and all the whole Agricultural Industry are looking into it.  

Recording data accurately and simply is the challenge.  Adoption of recording and sharing that data can be a little sticky for some, that’s why we will continue to bridge that gap with OPTIfarm service. 


 “It’s one thing to collect data, to look at it in real time making decisions with data takes it a step further”, says Russell. 


 OPTIfarm is collecting data and reviewing it constantly. We react quickly, we can identify situations immediately such as temperature fluctuations, water/feed volumes and bird movement. We can look at that data and if there is a situation that might pop up, then it is seen fairly quickly. 


“Tweaking a system and looking for consistency is where we are now. Providing information to a farm manager and their team daily allows them to make intelligent decisions. It doesn’t matter if it’s broiler breeders, Commercial layers, Pigs or fish farming it’s all relatively the same, it is attention to the fine detail that makes all the difference.” 


With a service like OPTIfarm it’s important to remember that we are not here to run your farm for you, it’s a resource that provides you with information in real time so that you can make decisions to optimise your production.   


I think it’s fantastic for identifying training for farm staff, if you haven’t got the highest skilled labour, as long as that person is willing, got the right kind of attitude and who wants to learn, OPTIfarm will give you that peace of mind that they are there to help, give guidance and advice when necessary.”  


Russell brings a wealth of experience and passion for the industry and we are looking forward to providing many more sectors with the benefits of 24/7 monitoring and helping others get the best out of their production through data and efficiency. 

R&D Insights

What does a typical day look like?

It’s a very varied role in R&D, no two days are the same. Time is split between office-based work applying for projects and grants and securing funding, as well as writing reports on current or completed trials and then time spent on farms running trials.

The projects we run are often collaborations with other businesses or Universities. We have access to many modern, state of the art broiler farms and with the help of our service, we get accurate real-time environmental and performance data, so are able to gather reliable results which are representative of the commercial production system.

Projects so far...

Over the past year we have been involved in trials looking at:

  • Nutritional support to improve production/reduce disease or stress. 
  • Robotics – everything from environmental monitoring to faeces analysis, product application onto litter for a reduction in greenhouse gases, and bird welfare monitoring. 
Robotics R&D
Robotics R&D
  • New methods of monitoring birds to improve welfare and production using modern camera technologies and sound monitoring.  
  • New methods of disinfection for drinking water and house cleaning to reduce the use of chemicals and medication. 
  • We aren’t limited to chickens either! With our remote environmental monitoring technology at OPTIfarm we can transfer into other animal businesses, currently looking at pigs, fish, honeybee health and insect larvae.

National Poultry Show

National Poultry Show

Join us on day day 2 of the National Poultry Show this week where we are talking all thing equipment. 

Your Equipment is intended to help you do the same job, or even better and with less effort. When your new equipment hits the farm, you may need to work out the kinks to get it running top notch. What new ideas should you consider?

Current farm management systems can visualise and produce data around the clock. Theres some powerful tools available for you today, but are you using them effectively enough? 

See the full line up and get your tickets here.

Technologies we should all be considering

Robotics – Automating routine tasks is potentially a big win for the broiler sector – not least by reducing the number of times a stockman has to enter a shed, as this improves biosecurity, but robots also have the potential to increase the amount of data captured on farms.

Free moving robots can examine every square metre of a barn and map out how air is moving through each part. Evidence shows that free moving robots break up dominance in farms, potentially improving flock uniformity.

Monitoring – Most broiler farms monitor humidity, temperature and other basic metrics. But there is huge potential in expanding what is recorded within sheds.

It’s relatively simple to train basic CCTV cameras to know whether lights are on or off, or inlets are open or closed. 

Beyond that, cameras can reveal the distribution of birds in a shed, how they are moving or how many are feeding at any given point, this is something we have also automated. Teaching standard cameras to identify birds that are eating/drinking and displaying a range of natural behaviours and on average how long each bird spends doing these behaviours. This can offer new levels of insight.

Intelligent Analytics

New Intelligent Analytics Platform

We can now finally announce our New Intelligent Analytics Platform is now live!

OPTIfarm and our partners Deep Network GmbH are dedicated to bringing you this form of new learning, creating more actionable insights than ever before.

Pioneering in the creation of new learning from farm observations. This will give our customers more actionable insights which are not easy to figure out with usual data mining and statistical methods. 

View your business operations from a new perspective and increase your performance while ensuring animal welfare and sustainability.

Red Tractor

Red Tractor Consultation

 The Red Tractor has been working closely with farming organisations, farmers, vets, processors and retailers over the last 12 months to drive its standards at every stage of the food chain. They are addressing changes in legislation and best practices to reflect emerging issues on consumer’s minds. 

They have opened a consultation over the next version of its standards across the sectors in which it operates, including poultry production. You can have your say here.

The updated standards will be from the 1st November 2021. One of the proposed changes for the UK farms is that each site will need to nominate a welfare officer. We at OPTIfarm can be your nominated welfare officer, or alternatively, assist your current welfare officer to cover all farms, update policies and evaluate the birds every 90 minutes, 24/7.

We have developed the worlds first welfare dashboard, giving you a unique way of establishing a welfare assessment in real-time. By linking productivity and welfare it is possible for us to support your sustainability commitments.


Proposed changes for November

  • Heat stress. The need for a heat stress policy and plan has been a requirement for poultry farms since 2017. But it is proposed that, in the event of bird losses because of heat stress, that plan is reviewed.
  • Lighting levels will need to be evaluated at bird level for every crop, to ensure they align with minimum requirements.
  • Bulk feed disinfection will become a separate audit point from existing cleaning and disinfection requirements.
  • It has been proposed that there is a minimum five-day turnaround between poultry flocks. Where this is not possible – for example, because of a factory breakdown – farmers will need to demonstrate what they have done to address the shorter turnaround period.
  • Multi-age sites will have to give more detail on how they operate, showing how entrances and staff are managed across the farm complex.
  • Each site will need to nominate a Welfare Officer.
  • Free-range producers will need to use a slower-growing breed.

OPTIfarm Support

OPTIfarm Support

Mental Health Day 2020

None of us are superhuman.

We all sometimes get tired or overwhelmed by how we feel or when things don’t go to plan and this year has been a particularly challenging one for us all. Farmers are our essential key workers, they keep production going and provide us with food for our tables.

We know that for some it can be a dream to live in a beautiful rural location but it can also be a lonely isolated place and things are not always jolly when working with livestock.

84% of farmers believe mental health is the biggest danger facing the industry according to the Farm Safety Foundation.

Here at OPTIfarm we provide global support 24/7 for farmers and larger poultry businesses by advancing production and welfare in the supply chain. 

If you feel like things are getting too much for you and you feel you can’t cope, please ask for help. We are open around the clock if you have any questions or just need a chat.

You can also find some great self-help publications here.

Smart farming – understand more, learn more.

Smart farming – understand more, learn more

In today’s economic climate it might seem a daunting task to implement aspects of smart farming or you may think that the current pandemic has forced your hand, but this can only be a positive that must be embraced.

Data gathering, machine learning and new thinking research are all designed to be used to progress your business, productivity and animal welfare.

Some of the main benefits are;

  • Reduce risks. The more you know the less of a risk you’ll face.
  • What happens at farm level and more importantly why?
  • improve production in every cycle.
  • Maximum production and bird welfare = maximum profit.

Time to focus on that data, analyse it and use it to create value.

Turning digital data into information, listen to what the information is telling you but more importantly, action it! Nothing changes if we don’t act on information and one of the biggest challenges we face can be actioning it.

graph showing the improvements made

We are not waiting for alerts or problems to arise before we make improvements, we looking and checking constantly to prevent issues. Be proactive, go find and go explore. We do this remotely, every day, at a minimum of 16 times a day in, every barn, 24/7.

Optimising and making positive changes for the birds and your business.

Now is the time for a permanent change in mindset.

Mindset and data analytics, together they are about generating profit.

We have discovered 50% of flock variable is down to human influences so these need to be communicated, with the data information, in the smart farming outcomes.

Smart farming for us is about working together to drive your business forward, overcome the challenges, push the boundaries and making the investment in the future.

how optifarm works

Where can you start?

Water, temperature and relative humidity. Recording these already? Great you are already on the first step. These 3 things are the basics for us at Optifarm to start you on your journey to a smarter poultry production.

Top Tips:

Record your observations, get them noted down anywhere you can. You are constantly making them so why not record them?

Don’t overwhelm yourself, use the data to confirm your decision making and make improvements. Even small steps add up to be changes.

Establish the basics first, use this to build on. Don’t get carried away with data for data’s sake and not use it.

Support for smarter farming and optimisation

Bridging the knowledge gap between precision livestock farming and the farmer.