CIEL | Blog: Data Focus – Getting Down with Data – “It will take a village”

Helen Brookes
World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022

No matter what livestock species or topics I discuss with farmers, industry representatives or researchers about, data is one of the most consistent points of discussion that comes up.

Whether it’s the best way to collect data or how regularly it is collected; the importance of setting a base line to use for comparisons; or how it is analysed and used to drive decision making on farm; it is always in the conversation. This is why CIEL is focussing on the use of data through a range of blogs, podcasts, articles and a webinar during the remainder of September and October.

I’ve been speaking to a number of CIEL Industry Members and partners to find out more about how their organisations navigate through the data revolution and how the whole industry, in the UK and globally, can make the most of this revolution to move forward. For some it’s a first step from swapping pencil and paper with apps and software; for others it’s bringing the use of data into everyday ways of working and using it for decision making. Whether someone has only recently started to engage with data, or has been sharing data and using big data sets for a while, the patterns and insights collected can be used in so many farming areas, from predicting the impact of weather changes, health alerts for problems before they even occur, to enabling animals to finish sooner.

But the uses of data in agriculture, and more specifically within livestock farming, is varied and often disparate. Every farmer has a goal for their operation from improving profitability and efficiency, to reducing the cost of an operation, or increasing product yield and value. To achieve each goal, farmers must make better decisions and move beyond the use of general knowledge and traditional ways of working, which may only carry them so far.

No farming business is the same, and this provides our livestock industry with a rich diversity. It’s this diversity that means, now more than ever, there is an increasing need for information to fit in line with what each farmer needs – based on farming system, contracts, physical and environmental features of their farm. Through better data collection and use, data sharing, and even big data utilisation, combined with technology and innovation, every one of the goals around profitability, efficiency, cost management and more can be achieved and exceeded.

And as one of our podcast collaborators said:

“There isn’t currently one tool or method or system that can do what everyone needs. It will take a village.”

I couldn’t agree more.

We’re really pleased to bring you insight on making the most of data from experts across the CIEL Network over the next couple of weeks. Keep checking back on our blog pages regularly, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for a heads up on new instalments on this mini ‘data discussion’ series. We’d love to hear your views and experiences too, so drop us a line on our enquiry web form.

If you are interested in our Member Exclusive CIEL Insights ‘Data Discussion’ Webinar, watch it here.

Interested in becoming a CIEL Member? Get in touch

Getting Down with Data
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Helen Brookes | Getting Down with Data

Helen Brookes, Business Development Manager

Helen supports current Members and bringing new Members into the CIEL network. Helen has more than a decade’s experience working across both Research & Development and Knowledge Exchange teams, complemented by experience in the commercial and research sectors of the agricultural industry. She is passionate about how the challenges faced and changes required within the livestock industry can be understood and responded to by research and development. Work in this area has included breeding and genetics, lameness and a growing carbon focus.
Email: [email protected] | Phone: 01904 567716