A new data-driven beef contract aims to help beef producers meet carcass specifications, enabling them to increase profitability while reducing their environmental footprint.

Chichester-based agri-tech company Breedr cites AHDB figures that show that some 45% of beef produced in the UK fails to meet carcass specifications. This increases emissions, wastage and the cost of production, it says.

Breedr has launched what it claims is the UK’s first long-term minimum-priced contract based on lifetime animal data. It says the smart, data-driven beef contract sets a secure price 24 months ahead, allowing beef producers to plan ahead with confidence. Breedr is working with processor Dunbia initially.

The system uses a free app with a growth predictor algorithm and analytics to monitor an individual animal and pass its amalgamated data along the supply chain. Breedr says the combination of price certainty giving producers confidence to invest, plus the use of data to improve efficiencies throughout the supply chain, will reduce the industry’s environmental footprint as it improves the consistency, quality and traceability of the end product.

Ian Wheal, founder and chief executive of Breedr, says that farmers using the free app are finishing animals five months earlier than the industry average, with 24% more carcasses reaching the target specification. They are saving 1.8 tonnes/head in feed and reducing their carbon footprint by 20%, he adds.

At the same time, the company has developed a new method of buying and selling livestock, based on lifetime animal data and weights. “The Breedr live trading platform means producers can buy and sell through the free app with certainty, with a price guarantee in case of any differential in the weight of weaned calves and stores between farms. Sellers are also ensured payment within 72 hours of collection, and trades will be commission free until later this year.”

The Breedr network now has over 2,000 members and 120,000 registered animals across the UK, many of whom are joining forces to create integrated supply chains to further improve efficiencies, says Mr Wheal. “By collating data on genetics, growth rates, health and carcass grades, producers can identify the most productive breeding lines and management methods, optimising productivity throughout the supply chain.”

Adam Quinney, chair of beef and lamb at AHDB, adds: “AHDB is very supportive of technology that helps to bring certainty and collaboration between farmer groups in the supply chain. The benefit of these supply chains encourages improvements to genetics, farm productivity and therefore environmental impact in the long term. Breedr is a good example of British innovation utilising technology to develop supply chains for farmers and processors alike.”