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Farm Performance

Getting the most from your Farm Performance

It’s been a year since Aviagen has raised the bar for entry to its Ross Club, which recognises the top 1% of broiler growers in the UK. On July 1 2019 the Ross 400 Club became the Ross 420 Club, with the qualifying entry level raised to a European Performance Efficiency Factor (EPEF) of 420 and above.

How was your farm performance over the last year?

What do feel was holding you back? Growth rates management? Flock uniformity? Environmental sustainability? Data Analytics? 

Sometimes it can just come down to hours in the day. I’m sure you’ve all experienced days turning into nights and contemplated sleeping in the shed.

Getting the best performance on broiler farms is about understanding what is happening at any given point in real time, and adapting management to each shed individually.

The biggest shift in broiler performance is the use of computer systems to capture data – not just entire room analysis, but splitting sheds into smaller segments and making management decisions based on that data.

No two sheds are the same. No two flocks are the same. Recognising and acting on the small differences while being able to maintain other well-known practices really makes all the difference in performance results.

Optifarm helps the farmer to see changing performance indicators and their trends during the cycle. We are able to give situation specific advice based on vast experience, all acuminated in our unique custom decision tree. 

Optimising, sustaining and advancing poultry production & welfare, globally, through innovative 24/7 human and digital assessments

Broiler Ventilation

Efficient ventilation for your poultry farms

How efficient is your ventilation? As our European clients head into summer and the outside temperature rises it is vital to health of your birds that the ventilation and temperature is monitored efficiently to reduce the risks from heat stressEffective ventilation is a crucial element to your broiler production and bird welfare. You shoulbe aiming to avoid putting undue stress on the birds with adequate ventilation and air exchange rates maintaining air quality and avoiding heat stress. 

 Aside from age of the bird the biggest influence on air quality inside the poultry house are the conditions outsideThe conditions the birds experience during the hot summer temperature must be controlled by the ventilation system whatever the conditions outside. However, it is not just about temperature regulation as the birds feel thermal comfort based on temperature, humidity and air flow rates, so all of these must be considered. 

Whichever ventilation system you are using it needs to not only ensures adequate air exchange throughout the poultry house, but also remove excess moisture from the litter, maintain oxygen levelsreduce carbon dioxide levels, and regulate temperature within the house. 

 As an example, in the UK the current guidelines are that each poultry house has a ventilation system that: 

  • keeps the concentration of ammonia (NH3) below 20 parts per million (ppm), measured at the level of the chickens’ heads 
  • keeps the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) below 3,000ppm, measured at the level of the chickens’ heads 
  • when the outside temperature measured in the shade is over 30C, the inside temperature is never more than 3C warmer 
  • keeps the average relative humidity inside the house over any 48 hour period below 70% when the outside temperature is below 10C 

 These are just the minimum requirements but at OPTIfarm we look at providing the best air quality and provide the best environment possible for bird welfare, health and production. 

 We monitor your equipment and analyse data collected on temperature and air quality. As we visit the farm every 90 minutes our real time data collection is proving to be invaluable, we are able to intervene before any early warning signs of anything awry. We monitor key indicators such as changes in water, feed intakes and bird spread. Many aspects can lead to an investigation of the ventilation system. 

The above graph shows a correlation between the ventilation and feed, the tunnel vent system was disturbing the birds away from the end feed pans housing the automatic feeding sensor which resulted in periods of feed outages. The team was able to quickly act on this data derived information and following immediate client consultation OPTIfarm was requested to remotely adjust the settings at the farm and the issue was resolved immediately. A positive outcome for the birds and the client immediately with no delays. 

 What happens when the outside temperature rises? To lose body heat birds pant allowing moisture to evaporate from the lungs (similar to dogs) but this physiological mechanism requires abundant fresh, dry air entering the birds lungs so that the moisture can be transpired then expelled by the birds as they exhale. So, when temperatures exceed 25°C with relative humidity’s of over 60% for example in UK summer, it is important to deliver as much fresh air at bird height as possible, thus constantly removing moisture exhaled by the birdsTo allow this in a positive vented house with air inlets and extraction fans the setting of inlets is as important as the settings of the fans 

Air inlets should allow not only the high volumes of air into the house but they must control direction of the air flow and the control the internal pressure of the house to ensure the fresh air reaches all the areas of the house, including corners, at the birds head height. 

In more extreme climates globally the OPTIfarm service is often assessing and advising on highly sophisticated environmental controls equipment and very specific technical management. What better than the extensive experience and knowledge of the OPTIfarm technical team remotely checking your farm 24 hours per day to give you that added peace of mind, plus save you time and money.  

Ventilation control systems and equipment are an investment and should be used to their full potential. This is not always easy or simple as modern ventilation systems become more sophisticated and complicated. OPTIfarm will ensure your poultry facilities are optimised to a very exacting standard today, tomorrow and every day.  

Working in conjunction with the major ventilation equipment manufacturers around the world OPTIfarm is uniquely able to support you in maximising the potential of your ventilation systems. Our experienced technicians will be looking on your behalf to constantly fine-tune settings and systems and help spot potential problems before they materialise. 

 OPTIfarm is a global support service focused on working for you to ensure you can maintain good performance and welfare of your birds and allow you that extra piece of mind.  

 

What would you do?…

Do you own a poultry farm? Do you also have these questions in mind?

  1. Who’s watching the broiler farm overnight? 
  2. How do you solve employees problem during the holiday seasons, sick leave, and the rest of it?
  3. What do you do if you can’t find skilled employees for your poultry farms?

We have a solution that could help with all these problems. OPTIfarm. Just fill in our online questionnaire and we will contact you, explain more about the service, benefits, and contractual period.

 

OPTIfarm is a team of poultry analysts founded by David Speller, an award-winning Broiler farmer, with more than 14 years’ experience. The service was initially developed for their own farms, but quickly developed based on their customers’ recommendations, and led to support farms globally. They realised, there was a need to develop a system to enhance the farmer’s large investment by utilising existing equipment to its fullest potential.

 

We are a remote solution that connects to each poultry house every 90 minutes, 24 hours per day, checking, optimising and looking for improvements. Approximately 100+ checks are carried out on each house each week. Our service is using the internet connection and all the available technologies in your farm, like sensors for humidity, temperature, air pressure, CO2 and ammonia levels, water consumption, feed consumption and cameras. OPTIfarm work closely with farm staff to optimise productivity.

OPTIfarm can improve the parameters of your farm that you are not happy with, like feed conversion, uniformity, quality, hock burns and growth management, but also monitors bird welfare. By checking every 90 minutes, the team is analysing the data, applying the unique OPTIfarm decision tree, making observations and advising in various ways (e-mail, text message, What’sApp). The interactive OPTIfarm dashboard is a customised tool, and visualises all observations and recommendations according to your goals. It is supporting you to have a clear overview of all the parameters of your farm.

OPTIfarm works well alongside all major controllers. Whilst the software gathers and analyses data, We conduct real time farm assessments and provide advice to correct issues identified or foreseen either in the farm observations or the data analytics.

4 Ways Monitoring Has Helped Livestock This Week

Monitoring Update

We’re always keen to spread the word about what we’re trying to achieve at OPTIfarm, which is happier birds producing better results. Below are some things we’ve been helping our farms with this week.

1. Pressure in the Netherlands

One of our farms in The Netherlands was experiencing issues with ventilation in the evening time. The team then called the farm manager out tweak some settings so that the birds could more comfortable overnight. This will also see likely improvements in FCR.

2. Bothersome Biomass

Some of the farms we monitor use biomass and a recent fault with a boiler lead to reductions in temperature. This can be difficult to manage, especially with lower outside temperatures. With a few tweaks to the ventilation and some close monitoring, the birds were made more comfortable until an engineer arrived.

3. Creeping CO2

One of our Shropshire farms was experiencing rising levels of CO2. If left to get too high, CO2 can cause respiratory issues for the birds. On noticing that CO2 levels were creeping up, the farm manager could be alerted early to resolve the issue before it became damaging.

4. Fighting with Feed

Over in Australia, some issues with the consistency of feed data raised a flag that there might be issues. The team quickly pointed the farm manager towards the problem houses so the issue could be resolved before it started to affect the birds. In the end, it turned out to be a feed bridge between 2 houses.

If you’re interested in learning more about what OPTIfarm can do for you. Get in touch using the E-mail: optifarm.team@appliedgroup.org.uk – or – Call: +44 (0) 1246 569 066