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Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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How beef farmers could boost profits by €100/head

A new app for beef farmers could improve profit margins by £100/head, and slash carbon emissions by 5-10%.

That is according to Ian Wheal, the founder of Breedr, a new free-to-download precision livestock app.

“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,” he said.

The company has invested over £2M in development. It has consulted across the industry to create an app that offers immediate productivity benefits.

Something that founder Ian Wheal, son of an Australia cattle farmer, feels passionate about: “Meat is a premium product and consumers want assurance of a good experience.”

“We believe the best way to achieve this is to use the data farmers are already collecting – movements, vet meds, weighing – and digitise livestock production, enabling improvements at every stage.”

The “sophisticated” livestock app makes it easy to collect and interpret animal data. It gives immediate access to information about health and weight and the powerful analytics tools will boost the herd’s productivity and profitability.”

How does it work?

Breedr is a mobile app that connects to a secure trading network on the cloud.

Data collated through the 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. This, he added, means producers have an assured sale and buyers can easily source prime beef to order.

To achieve this, data needs to follow the animal throughout the value chain, so Breedr has made it easy to connect to the BCMS. It then links all information gathered about that animal throughout its lifetime – from weights to veterinary records – to a digital record.

Breedr has been trialling its app with beef producers and has been in consultation with processors, retailers, and other stakeholders across the industry.

Farmer testimonial

As Ian Sturmer, UK Beef Farmer of the Year, and one of the first to trial the Breedr app explained: “Meat is now a luxury product and we need to be making sure of the consistent quality and sustainability of these products, to the highest standards”

“With Breeder we have become aware of the importance of breeding. Variety in the quality of the bulls within a breed is staggering.

“With the support of Breedr, we are now considering selecting the semen and working with dairy farmers to improve growth rate and performance and meat quality.”

“We can breed animals that use less food, grow more and taste better. That has really excited us.”

“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.”

More farmers

According to Wheal, more than 900 farmers have downloaded the app to date.

Ian Wheal agrees: “We’ve spent two years building the technology to make this possible, but we can’t do it alone.”

“We need farmers of every size, age, and system – who share our vision and want to boost the profit of their operations immediately – to bring their animals onboard and join the amazing farms already using Breedr.”

“That’s why we’ve decided to give every farmer in the UK the Breedr livestock app for free.”

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