Founder Ian Wheal to present on ‘Integrating Supply Chains’ panel at NBA Beef Expo

Breedr’s vision is to help farmers trade livestock smarter and finance faster, by enabling the value-chain to buy and sell animals based on data rather than how they look. Founder of the company, Ian Wheal, will be discussing the benefits of data-led trading in the ‘Integrating Supply Chains’ seminar alongside Dr. Stefano Vandoni of science-driven nutrition company Belcham and Ryan Law of meat processors Dunbia at NBA Beef Expo on 23 May 2019.

Traditionally, the way that animals are sold to processors is fragmented – some farmers sell to finishers, others through agents, at market or direct – so it is difficult for processors to see what is becoming available and for kill sheets and customer insights to be fed back to producers. 

James Wright, UK Manager at Breedr, explains: “It’s all about linking up the supply chain, to get more value for the farmer and more consistency for the processor and retailer. We are making it possible to scale the meat market by increasing traceability and transparency across the supply chain.

“At the moment processors issue a kill sheet, showing the weight and carcass information, which is often supplied as a sheet of paper or pdf. To use this data, farmers need to retype it into their system. If this data was more accessible and informative it could be used to improve meat production.

“A data-led supply chain allows visibility of animals in the pipeline, which is why processors are interested. Rather than buying animals based on weight, as they currently do, they are able to select the ones that will be within their specification and know when they will be available.”

To enable this, Breedr is leading an Innovate UK project to create smart contracts for the livestock industry by using blockchain to assure the lifetime data of an animal. Blockchain is a method of securely sharing data around the world and making sure that data cannot be edited. Copies of the data are stored across hundreds of thousands of computers that are used to authenticate the information and prevent it from being tampered with. The data is encrypted and can only be read within Breedr using a secure login.

Breedr is working with Imperial College London to develop the software; with Deloitte to address the legalities; and with Dunbia to gain input from the processor perspective. A number of farmers from across the UK are also involved to ensure the system works well for farmers. 

A major benefit of smart contracts is that instead of an animal being bought based on the way it looks, it is bought based on its track record. 

James gives the example of compensatory growth, an evolutionary strategy designed to help cattle survive hard winters. He says: “If you cut down an animal’s feed intake and then start feeding it again there will be a jump in growth. With a smart contract you will be able to see that the low growth rate has been caused by restricted rations. A farmer would be prepared to pay more in anticipation of rapid growth with enhanced feeding. The idea of data-led trading is that you are buying and selling animals on their potential performance.” 

Breedr CEO Ian Wheal comments: “Transparency and traceability is being demanded by customers, and farmers already collect a lot of data for regulatory purposes. 

“Our aim with Breedr is to make data into actionable insights for the benefit of everyone in the value-chain.”

Improved performance and business efficiencies will be discussed by AHDB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board) and Claire Lewis, a Breedr co-founder, who will bring together her farming and the supply chain experience in Beef Expo’s ‘Challenges Facing The Industry’ seminar at 1.30pm.

Breedr is a sponsor of Beef Expo 2019 and will also exhibiting on Stand 24. 

The 2019 NBA Beef Expo will be held at North West Auctions, J36 Rural Auction Centre, Milnthorpe, Cumbria on Thursday 23 May 2019.

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