Tech Talk: Breedr – the precision livestock tool

Due to launch next year, Breedr is a precision livestock tool which aims to ensure farmers get better value for money from their animals.

What is it and what does it do?

Breedr makes it easier for farmers to select the best animals and predict the optimum sale or cull date. Billed as a precision livestock tool, it captures a complete digital history for the animal using existing data, enabling them to be bought and sold online while ensuring consistent value for quality produce.

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Does it really work?

Analysing six years of data from Rothamsted Research’s North Wyke Farm, Breedr estimates farmers could generate up to £400 additional revenue an animal – by increasing meat yield through improved selection of dam/sire pairings, and more accurate prediction of slaughter date. Farmers using the prototype are already reporting benefits.

What are the challenges of getting it on farms?

Very few. Breedr supports current work methods: it allows direct import of data captured on farm from bolus, weigh heads, and scanners, and replaces the need for bits of paper. It integrates with existing farm management systems and medicine books, and can be linked to regulatory systems such as the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS).

Who is the company bringing this to market?

Breedr was founded by Ian Wheal, the son of a progressive livestock farmer. Its research with Rothamsted Research has created a scientific basis for benchmarking and the company is working closely with farmers, processors and retailers to more fully understand – and find solutions to – the challenges within the supply chain.

When can I get one – and how much will it cost me?

Breedr is actively inviting tech-savvy livestock farmers to help test-drive the platform, get more value from their existing data and benchmark their animals’ performance. The commercial product will be available from early 2020, with basic membership free and performance membership costing £99/year. It should provide immediate benefits to farmers.

What the experts say

Gary Spence, Northern Ireland farmer
Breedr clearly shows me which animals are going to give me the best performance. I can compare which farms I buy my animals from and the sires they are using, giving me the best performance. All the information is laid out in a way that is easy to understand and gives me the flexibility to compare whichever factors I want. Using Breedr on my farm gives me information that will make the business more efficient.
Verdict: A tool making difficult decisions easier.

Dr Belinda Clarke, Agri-Tech East director
The livestock industry is under considerable pressure to improve animal welfare and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. By using block chain to create smart contracts, Breedr is taking a lead that will help to increase trust and transparency in the industry. Additionally, as weight gain is a key indicator of performance, if Breedr is able to predict the “point of peak profit”, this will enable farmers to accurately forecast the time to slaughter, avoiding overfeeding, in turn cutting emissions and boosting productivity.
Verdict: Precision livestock is the future.

Dr Andrew Cooke, Rothamsted Research livestock scientist
The Field2Yield trial, which we have been running with Breedr, came out of mutual frustration that farmers don’t get the value they deserve for animals. Farmers are busy people and don’t necessarily want to be sat at a computer trawling through endless data. I like Breedr because its objective is to do that for you, providing the greatest value for the data you already collect – it reduces work and gives you added value. It’s a win-win.
Verdict: Intuitive and adaptable to your needs.