As part of an Innovate UK funded project, RAFT Solutions and XLVets have joined with Cranfield University to set up DataVet – a project to address clinical veterinary data surveillance.

Over the next three years, project DataVet will be building a data warehouse to capture all different elements of clinical findings and use of medicines recorded ‘in the field’ by both vets and farmers.

Cows in a field

The main objectives of the project are

  • The ability to track emerging diseases and incidences of all livestock diseases on farm
  • Provide a manner to format and report clinical notes
  • Monitor medicine usage and the its effects on farm performance, including to evaluate environmental impact
  • Provide benchmarking between veterinary practices
  • Deliver reports to customers with regard to medicine usage, clinical incidence and emerging trends



RAFT Solutions

RAFT Solutions was originally set up by Bishopton Vets in 2010 to focus on the breeding and training work that had been going on at the practice for many years, and to do more practical research projects, to help answer some of the questions our farmers and vets had relating to better production. In 2014 RAFT merged with Synergy Farm Health, a farm only practice in Dorset to add the nationwide coverage and joint expertise to the services RAFT has to offer. RAFT is an acronym for Research, Advanced breeding, Food futures consultancy and Training. It is providing core veterinary advice through its veterinary team including Jon Reader and Jonathan Statham and project management support to the project (Sophie Throup, Francesca Atkins), as well as looking at later stage exploitation.

XLVets Logo


XLVets is a business operated through 55 independently owned farm veterinary practices in the UK, and 18 franchise in Ireland, with the direct care of 25% of the UK cattle population. Practices deliver reputable knowledge and expertise through over 450 FTE vets, in first opinion and consultancy work and through a wide variety of structured knowledge transfer activities. XLVet UK member practices are also potential customers, to receive back information which help them benchmark their practice through the data they provide to the database against that of all collaborating practices within the XLVet group, and eventually against national measures when further practices join from outside the group. XLVets practices are providing veterinary advice, delivery of a veterinary disease schema, testing of the product in the field and sound outputs advice (including vets Jim Willshire and member practices as listed here). The XLVets central operations team through Sean Middlemore and Arron King, will create the IT software to support and grow the data warehouse and its reporting function. XLVets Farm MD, David Black, is the Chairman for project DataVet.

Lee Cairns Photo

Lee Cairns

Lee Cairns is an independent IT consultant, employed until March 2014 as Operations Director at Vet Solutions, the UK’s leading veterinary practice management systems supplier. He was part of the team leading an MBO in 2001, and developed products and services including internal systems and vet practice management data collation. Lee is contracted by XLVets to provide strategic IT direction to the formation of the data warehouse.

Cranfield University Logo

Cranfield University

The Cranfield team has 30 years’ experience researching agricultural and Biosystems engineering, originating at the National Institute of Agricultural Engineering (Silsoe). Livestock production, manure and waste management are important areas of their work. They mainly use systems-modelling approaches to methods such as Environmental Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). The Cranfield team has the most innovative experience in the UK of applying systems and understanding and modelling to the complexity of agriculture and waste management. Researchers Adrian Williams and Daniel Sandars provide support to the project.

DataVet Steering Group Picture

DataVet Steering Group

The team have the additional support of industry champion Tim Brigstocke, to help provide connections, guidance and context to the project and its scope.

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