Cargill to supply Alberta carcass data to BIXS

(Dave Bedard photo)

One of Canada’s biggest beef packers is set to supply the specs on beef carcasses processed at its Alberta plant to the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association’s (CCA) BIXS information-sharing system.

Cargill and BIXSCo, the CCA-backed operators of BIXS (Beef InfoXchange System), announced Thursday that the multinational agrifood firm will provide its past three years of beef carcass data from its High River, Alta. plant — plus all such future data going forward — in trust, for use in BIXS.

“Access to carcass data has long been identified as the major roadblock to industry-wide data sharing as it relates to cattle production information throughout the supply chain,” BIXSCo CEO Hubert Lau said in a release. “With this agreement, that roadblock has been removed.”

The High River plant, one of the largest in the country, processes up to 4,500 head of cattle per day.

BIXS’ data management system is now being rebuilt to take up the “anticipated high volume” of data, Lau said, making for a more “robust” system that’s expected to also allow Canada’s beef supply chain to buy and sell data up- and downstream.

CCA executive vice-president Dennis Laycraft hailed the deal as “a crucial step in ensuring information flows up and down the cattle value chain.”

Cargill will provide 15 fields of data on each carcass processed at the plant, once an audit by Cargill of BIXS’ privacy functions is completed, the company said.

The initial data transfer will come from the High River plant, but Cargill and BIXS said they will “work towards including” data gathered at Cargill’s other Canadian beef packing plant, at Guelph, Ont., “when the time is right.”

BIXS, set up in 2009, is described as similar to a stock market in that it allows buyers and sellers to exchange data on individual animals for a price.

Producers, for example, can buy carcass data to help improve operating efficiency and profitability, but can also sell their own cattle management data to others, and thus be compensated for their work in capturing said data.

“The end result is a supply chain that is more knowledgeable, productive, profitable and responsive to increasing demand by domestic and foreign consumers for more information about the quality of Canadian beef.”

Once rebuilt, the BIXS data management system “will continue to ensure no personal information is shared through the system,” the company said. “Users will remain anonymous until they choose to contact a source of information.” — Network

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