A VIRTUAL value-chain for livestock production that claims to revolutionise the production and marketing of high quality meat is now available as a mobile phone app.

'Breedr', a system developed with the support of the National Farmers Union, processors and supermarkets, is described as a sophisticated way to collect and interpret animal data, giving immediate access to information about health and weight, and enabling analytics tools to boost each herd’s productivity and profitability, as well as their output's meat eating quality. Crucially, it connects to a secure trading network on the internet so contracts can be made online.

Founder Ian Wheal explained: “Breedr aims to revolutionise the way that livestock is produced and traded. Our vision is to radically change livestock production, so the industry can deliver meat of consistently high eating quality for consumers, with less waste and higher returns for farmers. All producers need to do is share their weight data.”

Chief Livestock adviser at the English NFU, John Royle, said: “The recent crisis has shown the urgency of upgrading meat value-chains so they are fit for the 21st century. The industry needs to deliver produce of high meat eating quality, consistently, with minimal waste and environmental impacts and to do so in a way that is profitable and sustainable.

“The online network developed by Breedr supports the NFU’s target to reach net zero by 2040. It is creating a virtual supply chain that builds confidence and trust between producers and processors. It will remove the need for buyers to see the animals and ensure that producers are rewarded for meat that meets high welfare and quality standards.”

UK Beef Farmer of the Year, Ian Sturmer, was one of the first to trial the Breedr app. He commented: “With Breedr we are able to have a more powerful complete supply chain analysis, from the dairy farm right the way through to consumption. If we are going to have a vibrant beef sector in the UK and take advantage of the many export opportunities, I think it’s of paramount importance that we try to reshape the industry.”

Data collated through the Breedr app about live weight gain, feed, health and parentage is used to make predictions about the animal’s performance and optimum date of sale for peak-profit for the farmer. The app creates a digital profile for each animal that can be matched with a contract and traded online, meaning producers have an assured sale and buyers can easily source prime beef to order. Achieving consistency with minimal waste was the primary aim.

To achieve this, data needs to follow the animal throughout the value chain, so Breedr connects to the BCMS and then links all of the information gathered about that animal throughout its lifetime – from weigh-heads to veterinary records – to a digital record.