There is a lot of talk about how data will revolutionise the poultry production industry, helping make smarter decisions tailored to the conditions of individual operations. However, for the foreseeable future, these decisions will still be made by people, and those human decision-makers need to make sense of the multitude of incoming data points, in order to take action based on that data.
Aviapp® is meant to provide that framework. A free-to-use online tool built and maintained by Huvepharma®, Aviapp® centralises the various sources of data available on a flock, from both the performance side and health side, and provides benchmarking to help evaluate how an operation is doing compared to others, and how that is changing over time.
Having built a following for Aviapp® in the broiler industry over the last several years, Huvepharma rolled out Aviapp® for layers during EuroTier 2022. Today, we hear from two project managers who have been deeply involved in this work - Stefaan Bekaert, Global Project Manager for Aviapp® and Ben Dehaeck, Global Product Manager for Coccidiostats - and learn about their belief that Aviapp® can provide a foundation for making decisions about a nutrition or management change not based on the cost of a product or the persuasiveness of a sales pitch, but on firm data demonstrating its effects on your flock.
[Feedinfo] Can you start with a brief overview of Aviapp® for layers? Who is it intended for, and how does it work?
[Ben Dehaeck] Aviapp® captures performance, health, management and welfare in one application. Launched in 2017, Aviapp® is Huvepharma®'s answer to a need expressed by our customers (feed mills, integrated operations, and veterinary practices) to have an independent, easy to use platform for monitoring health in broilers. Data is entered by Aviapp® users - who can be veterinarians, nutritionists or technicians - and is visualised by means of graphs and tables.
After working with Aviapp® for broilers for several years, and seeing its benefits for the users, Huvepharma® took the initiative to develop Aviapp® for layers. From the start of the project, it was clear that a software platform for layers would have different requirements compared to broilers. Layers live much longer and have a higher value compared with broilers, hence there's less monitoring done in layers by means of necropsies. Until now, following a flock of laying hens mainly focuses on laying percentage compared to the breed standard. Aviapp® for layers is developed with a strong focus on performance parameters. However, we also want to include health and welfare parameters. Currently, there are already software systems on the market to follow performance, but none of the existing ones allow for the capturing of performance, health, management and welfare together.
Aviapp® is intended to be used by integrated layer operations, feed mills or veterinary practices. One account can contain many different farms, which makes it possible to compare individual farms or to compare the results of an individual farm with the average of the group. Similar to the broilers, the platform links all relevant production parameters, such as performance, health or management, with each other. This allows an evaluation of the impact of health and/or management on performance for the whole group or on a single farm. Data entry is made simple and very user friendly. It can be done by different users, for example farmers, veterinarians or technicians. To avoid duplication, the Aviapp® platform can also interact with other platforms, if relevant data are already available.
[Feedinfo] How does Aviapp® differ from other software tools available to help with managing layers? Why did you decide that the layer market needed this service?
[Stefaan Bekaert] It was a result of customers' demand. Customers using the platform for their broiler operations expressed interest in a similar platform for their layer operations. With this feedback, together with our consultation with different stakeholders, we noticed that the field-orientated approach of the Aviapp® platform creates extra value for livestock producers over existing systems on the market. As mentioned, the goal of Aviapp® is to make it possible to centralise data from different sources and present them in a clear and easily accessible format. Users can customise their dashboard to make some specific graphs or visuals even more readily accessible. Working like this offers the user access to the most recent and relevant information so that necessary actions can be taken if needed.
[Feedinfo] From Huvepharma®'s end, what were the most successful features of the broiler version of Aviapp® that you are looking to reproduce with the layer version?
[Ben Dehaeck] The key benefits of Aviapp® for broilers are that you can easily identify issues in a flock with regards to health and/or performance. The user can also harness the power of their own data to make decisions based on information and monitor the impact of possible changes on health and performance. Additionally, one can follow trends and compare different complexes within a company or compare it with the country benchmark.
Aviapp® for broilers has grown significantly over the last few years. Aviapp® is not a static tool but needs to be dynamic and evolve according to the user's needs. One of the latest additions was the ability to log diagnostic information when visiting a farm. Alongside monitoring, diagnostic information provides a more complete and detailed overview of the health status of livestock. The new feature in Aviapp® allows the veterinarian to easily capture their diagnostic findings on farm when visiting a farm/flock. Afterwards, these findings can be reported in a standardised way to relevant people in the company. It also provides companies with the possibility to systematically follow up and analyse this information over time or between different parts of the business. This diagnostic module will also be implemented in the layer version.
Another example is the expected value (or benchmark) for several health parameters which we created based upon a significant amount of data. These expected values take into consideration certain background variables that influence the result of a flock: for example, region, age, or season. Having this benchmark to compare to helps our customers to better understand their own results, proving the context which allows them to decide whether the results should be considered good or bad.
Nowadays, there is a lot of emphasis placed on capturing vast amounts of data. Capturing data is one thing; however, it only becomes valuable when we are able to turn the data into interpretable information. It is in this duality, ease of capturing and centralising data on the one hand and creating information out of it on the other, that Aviapp® excels.
[Feedinfo] And on the flip side, what kind of adaptation was required to ensure that the Aviapp® system met the needs of those raising layers instead of broilers?
[Stefaan Bekaert] It was clear from the beginning that the needs of layers would be different from the needs of broilers. The data entry, for example, will be different as the birds live much longer and we need to be able to input performance on a daily and weekly basis. The housing systems are very different and it's important to log this information in Aviapp® as it can have a big influence on the results of the flock.
Moreover, the focus in the layer industry is naturally on egg production and egg quality, which are obviously not points that we would gather data on in broiler production. Still, there are also parts of the broiler app which can be used in the layer app with only small adaptations. Examples are symptoms and diagnostics, treatments and house management. This is one of the learnings from developing a software platform: make the different parts as easy as possible to implement in future developments.
[Feedinfo] What does the launch of Aviapp® for layers demonstrate about Huvepharma®'s commitment to the layer market?
[Stefaan Bekaert] We are active across the whole poultry sector with our extensive portfolio, and we are delighted that Aviapp® can now support our layer customers as well. With this development and the efforts we put into developing and supporting the ongoing operation of the Aviapp® platform, we demonstrate our commitment to the layer industry, one which leads to an intense and close collaboration with our layer customers. By developing Aviapp® for layers, we have created a new, user-friendly and valuable tool for the layer industry, which generates better insight into their day-to-day operation, and visualises the effect of interventions that have taken place.
[Feedinfo] Aviapp® is free to use; it's not a paid service. Why has Huvepharma® invested time and resources into its development and expansion?
[Ben Dehaeck] Huvepharma® indeed provides this platform for free, and the data remain owned by and confidential to the user. Over the years, a vast amount of data has been entered into Aviapp® making it possible to create benchmark values for different parameters. This is why today, Aviapp® is the reference for the poultry industry when it comes to health parameters. By providing this benchmark, our customers can evaluate their results and compare them with the average of their country or region. Developing and supporting software is very expensive and does require a lot of resources. That said, as long as it can help our customers, we are happy to provide the platform. Aviapp® helps Huvepharma® to understand the needs of the industry and allows us to develop our service and products in the most relevant way. We keep on serving the global poultry industry with valuable tools, information and products which allow the poultry industry to produce protein in a profitable and sustainable manner.
[Feedinfo] What are your objectives for Aviapp® in the broiler market, in terms of the number of users or the geographic reach? What are your next plans for the app?
[Ben Dehaeck] Since Aviapp®'s inception in 2015, the number of users of Aviapp® for broilers keeps growing year after year. Additionally, we see the intensity of usage increase, meaning more and more features are being used and the system has become more integrated in the users' own software systems. When it comes to the geographic reach, we already have a wide spread of use spanning from Asia-Pacific to Europe and to the Americas. Some parts of the world do have specific requests and needs, which is why the system keeps on developing. The feedback we get from users and insights coming out of the analyses drives us to constantly improve and upgrade the platform. It is Huvepharma®'s commitment to constantly evolve this service and continuously offer real and tangible value to our customers and the whole poultry sector.
We are at the beginning of the roll out and together with the layer industry, we are ready to make it as successful as Aviapp® for broilers. Even if you are not yet working with Huvepharma®, you can contact us and we will be more than happy to help you to integrate Huvepharma® solutions in your business.
We have already identified the next step after developing and implementing Aviapp® for layers: we will create Aviapp® for breeders.
This will add some more complexity as there are both hens and roosters in the same house, but we aim to have it ready by the middle of next year. As you can see, we are not yet at the end of our journey with Aviapp® and we still have many plans for the future.
To conclude, today we are surrounded by data but unfortunately it often circulates in an unusable and disorganised way. That is why we, Huvepharma®, have developed Aviapp®, a single database which can organise your data in a standardised and uniform way, ready to be used. Aviapp® has proven its benefits for the broiler industry and now, with its introduction in the layer space, we can provide a similar level of service to the layer industry.
Article published in Feedinfo, November 2022