British Meat Processors Association
British Meat Processors Association

Can AI deliver a step change for UK meat and livestock production?

In recent years AI technologies have begun to appear in various sectors with promises of enhanced efficiency, and the meat industry is no exception. From improved production processes to ensuring quality control, the integration of AI has the potential to revolutionise operations and address the wider challenges faced by the industry.

One area where AI has already made progress is in predictive analytics for optimising livestock management. By analysing data such as animal health records, environmental conditions, and market trends, AI can forecast key variables such as feed consumption, growth rates, and disease outbreaks. This enables farmers to make data-driven decisions regarding herd management, leading to improved productivity and resource utilisation.

On Farm AI-driven monitoring systems offer real-time insights into animal behaviour, health and overall well-being. Sensor-equipped devices can track feeding patterns, movement, and vital signs, allowing early detection of health issues and ensuring timely intervention. By adopting such technology, farmers can proactively address health concerns, minimise losses, and uphold animal welfare standards, enhancing the industry’s reputation for ethical practices.

In addition to livestock management, AI is streamlining the processing and distribution aspects of the meat supply chain. Automated sorting and grading systems equipped with computer vision can assess meat quality based on attributes such as marbling, colour, and texture, with unmatched precision and consistency. This not only reduces reliance on manual labour but also minimises errors and ensures uniform product quality to meet consumer expectations and uphold brand reputation.

Furthermore, AI-powered predictive maintenance systems are transforming equipment management within processing facilities. By analysing equipment performance data in real-time, AI can anticipate potential break downs and schedule maintenance proactively, thus minimising downtime and optimising operational efficiency. This proactive approach not only reduces maintenance costs but also enhances overall productivity, allowing companies to meet growing demand while maintaining profitability.

Beyond operational enhancements, the adoption of AI technologies in the meat industry can potentially contribute to broader sustainability objectives. By optimising resource consumption and minimising waste throughout the supply chain, AI-driven solutions help mitigate environmental impacts and promote sustainable practices. For instance, predictive analytics can optimise feed formulations to reduce resource inputs while maximising nutritional value enhancing both resource efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with livestock production.

AI-enabled precision farming techniques facilitate sustainable land management practices, such as rotational grazing and soil health monitoring, which promote biodiversity and mitigate soil degradation. By integrating such practices into their operations, meat producers can not only enhance environmental sustainability but also ensure long-term viability and resilience in the face of climate change and other external challenges. In conclusion, Britain’s meat industry stands at a crossroads of tradition and innovation, with the incorporation of AI very likely to deliver transformative outcomes. The integration of AI, data and automation in the UK meat industry has the potential to deliver a step change towards greater efficiency, finished product quality and environmental sustainability.

Lucas Daglish - BMPA Sustainability Manager

About Lucas Daglish

Lucas is Sustainability Manager at the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA). He has worked in a variety of operational and senior food procurement roles in the hospitality sector. Since 2006 he has been focused on red meat procurement, animal welfare policy implementation and livestock sustainability in his previous roles as Senior Category Buyer and then Group Food and Beverage Policy Manager at Whitbread PLC.



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