The first of its kind in Canadian poultry production, the BC Chicken Marketing Board’s new Grower Dashboard is pioneering how BC poultry farms are managed.
While the online system was primarily intended to replace and simplify the Daily Activity Sheet (a federal requirement for all flocks as they move through the production system), it has happily evolved into a single-serve database that promises to improve grower management and enhance industry communication.
“Previously our sector used paper-based reporting and tracking of flocks to adhere to the On-Farm Food Safety, Animal Care and BC Poultry Biosecurity Program requirements,” explains Shawn Mallon, the architect of the dashboard and Manager of Administration with the Board. “The new web-based, mobile-ready platform provides a single point of entry that not only reduces time and waste generated by paper-based reporting, but allows producers to compare data from year-to-year, organize and prepare for audits, and provides real-time access for industry managers to potentially identify issues as soon as they arise in an individual flock.”
With the ability to assess their performance based on past cycles and industry averages, growers can now make more informed management decisions regarding feed consumption, mortality and antimicrobial use.
According to Mallon, the key to the Dashboard’s success lies in industry adoption, which will generate more data for the Board to work with.
“The more growers use the program, the more useful the information will be and the more meaningful the data becomes when looking at industry trends” Mallon emphasizes, adding that this will also enable the Board to develop better and more accurate programming for producers.
One of the first to test the new platform at his broiler farm in Abbotsford, Brad Driediger of Windberry Farms is now a vocal proponent of the Dashboard and echoes the call for broader usage.
“We have a vital tool that will allow for a more coordinated approach in dealing with industry-wide issues such as flock mortality,” he explains. “This type of data isn’t usually captured or reported collectively, making it difficult for the Board to determine either causes or solutions.”
For Driediger, the Dashboard’s ability to facilitate greater industry connection is perhaps its most important feature, allowing him and other growers to receive timely news and notices on their main page.
Over time, the Board anticipates increasing environmental and economic impacts.
“As producers use the program to measure baselines and increase efficiencies, they will be able to optimize feed and the use of other inputs, decreasing waste and increasing returns,” Mallon predicts.
At the moment there is also talk of expanding the dashboard to other members of the value chain, and even nationally through the Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC).
“If CFC adopts the dashboard for all broiler producers in Canada, then they can use their communication resources to launch the dashboard to the other provincial Boards,” says Mallon. “Other poultry commodities would find this dashboard useful, as well as hatcheries and processors, which would further enhance industry traceability and efficiency.”
Funding: $33,641 provided by the Governments of Canada and British Columbia through the Canada-BC Agri-Innovation Program under Growing Forward 2, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. (INN200)