The Germany-based company introduced Porphyrio to the US poultry production sector at the International Production and Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia.
The technology originated at the University of Leuven in Belgium and was acquired by Evonik Industries AG in 2018. It is now part of the company’s move to integrate all its digital activities and technological work focused on preventive and predictive diagnostics.
The Porphyrio system is being offered, initially, as a tool to help poultry producers gain greater production control, said Kristof Mertens, managing director at Evonik Porphyrio. It is planned to expand the use of the technology into other production species like swine but that is not yet commercial.
“[Our focus is on how] we can we use data to monitor and predict complex biological processes,” Mertens told FeedNavigator. “Because chicken production is about the chicken in the house, the feed, the genetics, the health and the climate – it’s complex.”
“What I’m trying to make clear to everyone is that digital should be part of your business strategy,” he added. “As a professional poultry producer, integrato or feed mill, you need to fit that digital part into your core digital business strategy.”
Data collection and system use
The value of the system is that it makes visible how the production process is progressing, said Mertens. It is also intended to provide signals when something is going wrong.
“It’s a flock management tool – you can track all the records of your flocks and, on top of that, you have whole health management,” he said.
“Our system is supporting that - by having the track record, by having the health management system, by it allowing the planning of tasks – sampling manure for salmonella, taking blood samples for breeders and so on – we give early warnings when performance is deviating,” he said.
The system uses “self-learning algorithms” to assess the data provided and to project expectations going forward, he said. “With the data we collect, we expect tomorrow they eat so much, they grow so much, they lay so many eggs, and if that is deviating, we give a signal.”
Earning warnings are crucial as there can be a relatively short period from a little deviation to clinical signs of disease and increased bird mortality, said Mertens.
When production is functioning smoothly, the system could also be used to predict how large birds in a flock will be by a certain time or it can be used to manage that production pace or egg production flow, he said.
The Porphyrio system was developed for producers globally, regardless of the type of production system they are using, said Mertens.
“We want to provide a solution in terms of better monitoring and giving better visibility of what is going on."
There is a minimum level of data needed to establish the program, but the majority of poultry producers already track some of the needed data like feed intake and bird mortality rate, he said. Although much of the data collected is tracked on paper, there is starting to be a shift toward digital record keeping.
In addition, in regions where internet connections are a challenge, data can be entered using an app on a smartphone, he said. It takes about two weeks to build user dashboards.
In an integrated production market, like the US, the technology could be exploited to enable management of multiple producers and flocks, said Mertens. However, it can also be used by individual poultry house owners, organic producers, feed mills, veterinary companies and slaughterhouses.
The system is also intended to help producers when switching to antibiotic-free production, he said.