ForFarmers is using intelligent apps for product and process improvements

9 July 2020

ForFarmers is taking the next step in applying data analysis to improve the livestock farmers’ yield. Data is now collected on a new platform and this is subsequently analysed using the very latest techniques to extract valuable information for the feed production chain. The focus isn’t just on improving the livestock farmers’ yield; data analyses, algorithms and visualisations also contribute to the optimisation and continued sustainability of, and collaborations in, the feed chain. ForFarmers has selected Axians and Microsoft as partners.

Targeted planning and results analyses are at the basis of ForFarmers’ Total Feed approach, which is focussed on supplying complete feed solutions. Data from various different internal and external sources plays a key role here. Axians supports ForFarmers with this process, specifically with the implementation of a Microsoft Azure environment, a Data Lake, Machine Learning, data analysis tools and a low-code OutSystems platform for application development.

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Data as control information

“ForFarmers is specialised in animal feed and is not an IT company. At the same time, we have identified opportunities for the smart integration and analysis of existing data sources, which will allow us to fine-tune our decision-making. We can see clear potential in making optimal use of data both for ourselves and for our partners in the chain. The predicted data value can be used for product and process improvements throughout the chain via algorithms and data-driven applications, whilst it can also contribute to reducing emissions in the chain. We enjoy intensive working relationships with farmers and other chain partners by sharing our insights via apps. We can further streamline the feed chain together. The result is a better yield, a healthier livestock and higher levels of efficiency in our sector”, according to Stijn Steendijk, ForFarmers’ Strategy & Organisation Director.

From Data Lake to tenderloin

One of the elements is the implementing of a Data Lake. This will allow for data from ForFarmers’ business processes - from production data to feed composition - to be linked to other types of data which comes from, for example, the livestock farmer. The subsequent analysis can lead to new insights which can be used by the feed specialist and livestock farmer. “For example, we’re currently working on combining the information our livestock farmers share with us with information about the feed recipes. This information is brought together in an app which both livestock farmers and our own employees can use. The insights based on this data will allow us to, for example, determine the optimal feeding curve for swine and subsequently predict their growth more effectively. We can further optimise the feed during the different growth phases. And this is something the pig farmer will definitely benefit from in his business operations”, Steendijk concludes.