Sentinel Farms in the UK trout industry

Mar 2007 - Mar 2009

The UK trout farming industry routinely collects a wide range of data relating to the health status and performance of their stocks. However, this data is seldom utilized in an efficient manner and represents an unexploited source of important information. The sentinel farms project is a SARF funded initiative to create a scheme for benchmarking data collected by trout farms within the UK. Industry benchmarking is recognized as a valuable tool for farmers, which not only provides regular updates on performance and industry trends but importantly can provide an early indicator of specific problems.

Mortality levels are one of the most important indicators of the health and welfare of farmed fish stocks, but whilst all farmers collect mortality data, little analysis and benchmarking is performed. Therefore, the sentinel's farms project is focusing on establishing a benchmarking scheme for mortalities within the UK rainbow trout industry.

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The project is working on the development of a web-based application that will allow farmers to see the mortality of their stocks (at the unit, farm or group of farm level) and compare them to industry benchmarks. The application will allow farmers to view mortalities by date or weight of fish whilst also allowing the causes of mortality to be categorised. Farm mortality data is typically stored either on dedicated farm management software, more broadly available software (e.g. Microsoft Excel) or in paper records. Therefore the sentinel's farms project will work towards a system that allows data to be both automatically and manually uploaded, so that any farmer who wants to join the benchmarking scheme can do so with ease. The security of individual data is critical to the success of the project. Therefore, the system will be developed such that farmers can only access their own data and the industry benchmarks.

The overall goal of the project is to provide an application which can be easily tailored to the individual farmer's requirements, but at the same time gives robustly comparable industry benchmarks.

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