Hackers develop solution in 48 hours to accurately weigh live weight in meat chickens


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Rural developers and disrupters joined forces in Wagga Wagga NSW earlier this month for a two-day hackathon where teams built solutions to some key challenges faced in our agricultural sector.

Held at Charles Sturt University, Agrihack brought together farmers, software and web developers, agribusiness professionals and academics. Participants formed teams and were given just 48 hours to find innovative solutions to three challenges.

AgriFutures Australia was a proud sponsor of this year’s Agrihack and our Chicken Meat Program developed one of the three challenges which participants worked to solve.  The challenge: to create a way to accurately measure the live weight in meat chickens.

AgriFutures™ Chicken Meat Advisory Panel Member Guy Hebblewhite said it has been a longstanding challenge to measure the live weight in meat chickens prior to processing and farm pick-up. He said there are systems in place but they are very manual and not perfect.

“The growers currently monitor the weight of the bird generally by hand using a weigh scales similar to what you may see at the supermarket. There are electronic in-shed auto weigh systems are available, but the uptake is low by the processors. Ultimately, these systems can be improved to generate more accurate data and to reduce the manual nature of the current process.

“At the moment, a grower can measure the live weight of roughly 1,000 chickens in one day. A new method could increase this number to weighing every single chicken in the shed – that’s around 40,000 chickens per day,” said Mr Hebblewhite.

Hackers Tim Klapdor, Ben Atkinson and Rob Stone won the overall hackathon with their pitch ‘Chickon’, a vision technology system that will potentially revolutionise the weigh systems for farmers and increase the number of chickens weighed in the shed from 3% to 100%.

The Chickon team walked away with $3,000 in winnings and have the opportunity to turn their idea into a business proposition. The innovative trio will be meeting with AgriFutures Australia General Manager for Research & Innovation, Michael Beer this month to discuss how to take their proposal from paper to prototype.

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