Sainsbury’s is backing six British farmer and grower projects, the retailer announced at its annual farming conference. From hen welfare to apple packaging, the ‘Big Data’ projects are set to provide insights and information that will help to develop successful products, services and innovative farming practices.
LONDON, 2014-12-10 — /EPR Retail News/ — These pioneering projects will generate data and innovation which will benefit our farmers more broadly in the future. New insights and practices should be transform how Sainsbury’s products are sourced and produced.
Data will be collected, combined and processed in different ways to help test the effects of agricultural practices, provide new insights and develop transformative solutions.
The six awarded projects
- Large scale data collection and analysis to assess bird health and welfare measures: Campylobacter remains a challenge for the UK poultry meat industry due to its implications for human health, there have been a number of small scale studies that have examined risk factors along with potential interventions. This project aims to identify risk factors in a commercial environment and whether or not Campylobacter has any impact upon broiler health and performance. It will also determine the relative occurrence of the different strains of Campylobacter and review data gaps
- Influence of dietary fibre on the gut health and productivity of laying hens: Gut health of the laying hen is a critical determinant of life-time productivity, product quality and the well-being of the hen. This project aims to quantify the production efficiencies of two different methods of increasing dietary fibre in laying hen diets across two bird breeds
- Perfect packaging: Product quality and its presentation within the Top Fruit sector is of paramount importance for maintaining quality, reducing waste, driving volume and attracting customers. What this project aims to do is to answer the question of ‘Is there a packaging solution that ‘looks good, increases volume and is flexible yet resilient enough to enable utilising the crop within the quality tiers?’
- Effect of calcium pidolin on egg quality and hen welfare: Calcium Pidolate; believed to deliver beneficial effects to egg shell quality and bird health has been part of laying hen diets for 10-15 years. This project looks at the value of calcium pidolate for improving bird welfare and economic performance of egg production by improving Calcium metabolism
- Farm and abattoir data to improve genetic evaluations of performance recorded rams: Collect and collate real commercial data to support one of the fundamental factors influencing lamb production; breed and the genetic performance profile of progeny
- Sharing live diagnostic crop data to improve yields and reduce environmental impact: The project focuses on 10 Lincolnshire pea growers assessing soil type and stone risk to reduce crop damage via biomass imagery. This will help determine treatment recommendations and recording of crop treatments. It will involve collating real time data which feeds into a bespoke app. The app will then deliver insights to farmers which allow for pro-active crop damage limitation, yield forecasting and interaction between growers to they can make informed decisions
Sue Lockhart, Head of Agriculture at Sainsbury’s, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the applications from our farmers and growers. It shows that British farming is thriving with ideas. As we work towards a more sustainable and efficient agricultural industry in the UK we anticipate the ‘Big Data’ projects will support everyone from farmers to customers by offering insight and ideas.
“I look forward to updating on the projects as they progress.
The ‘Big Data’ projects were announced to an audience of approximately 650 farmers and growers from Sainbury’s Farmer Development groups at the Sainsbury’s Farming Conference. The event on Friday 5 December also included an update on the Research and Development projects that were awarded funding last year and in 2012. People also heard about the Apprenticeship programme which started in September which consists of eight placements within Sainsbury’s fresh produce supply chain.
The scholarship programme has been designed in consultation with our farmers and growers and will be delivered in partnership with Imperial College. Developments in science and technology represent huge opportunities for our agriculture and horticulture supply chains and we hope this scholarship will help bring the best talent in the industry.
We hope this scholarship will contribute to these exciting opportunities by bringing together some of the best thinking in our supply chains to capitalise on these developments. Applications for the Programme are open from today until 31 January 2015.