cattle at market© Tim Scrivener

A £282,000 project to develop a prototype system for the exchange of cattle information across the supply chain has been given the go-ahead by Agri-tech Catalyst.

The Agri-tech Catalyst is run jointly by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, and research councils. The successful bid for the 12-month feasibility project is being managed by the beef and dairy divisions of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and is made up of an across industry steering group.

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This system could effectively work as a search engine to facilitate data exchange between government, industry and private databases, so that key information can be brought together and presented through a single portal, for example at auction markets.

The livestock industry data exchange hub aims to:

  • for the first time, provide the cattle industry with a facility to underpin risk-based trading for diseases such bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD), Johne’s and bovine TB (bTB)
  • while the initial focus is on animal disease, it is envisaged the framework developed can be expanded to other areas of data collection, which will greatly benefit the industry.

AHDB is working with over 20 industry collaborators including industry databases, farm management software suppliers, auction market and abattoir system providers.

Norfolk farmer John Cross, who is chairing the project steering group, says: “This is a really exciting opportunity, where industry itself has taken the initiative to develop what has been needed for a very long time. It has the potential to increase operating efficiency, reduce farmer cost and increase our capacity to control economically important diseases.”