When farming started in Mesopotamia, people used their eyes to monitor the animals and detect signs of illness. Today, we use the same solution. A farmworker mostly relies on subjective and incidental methods such as periodic physical inspections, typically with just one second per day per animal1. This is not only time-consuming and disruptive to a daily routine, but could lead to unreliable results with negative outcomes and potential causes for high mortality rates. It can also lead to overuse of antibiotics2.
Those are the very challenges that are at the heart of pig farming. The number of swine farms having to manage labor shortages, profitability, feed costs, and herd health including genetics, immunity, AMR, biosecurity are steadily increasing. The need of a dramatic shift to technology in order to support the industry at scale is now.
Heat stress is known to have significant negative impacts on pigs namely lowering disease resistance, reducing feed intake and growth rate, which leads to a lowered feed to bodyweight conversion during the fattening period. Excessive heat stress not only threatens the wellbeing of pigs, but also causes economic loss for the farmer because heat stress makes pigs grow more slowly.
Hikvision and livestock health technology expert Serket have partnered to offer a solution that alerts farmers to abnormal behavior spotted within their pig pens. Cameras paired with deep learning algorithms monitor pigs’ physical activity, feeding patterns, and overall aggressiveness to inform farmers about their herd’s wellbeing.
Hikvision’s 4 MP ColorVu Fixed Turret Network Camera (DS-2CD2347G2-L(U)) is used to collect visual data. The camera was mainly chosen for it’s low-light technology. The camera also supports true WDR, which could avoid images of the pigs being too dark and less valuable.
The data can then be analyzed using AI to identify and recognize behavioral patterns. If the pigs’ behavior differs from the expected patterns, an early-warning system can be developed based on these signals and inform farmworkers to check the group and/or individual animal’s performance and health
The data can then be analyzed using AI to identify and recognize behavioral patterns. If the pigs’ behavior differs from the expected patterns, an early-warning system can be developed based on these signals and inform farmworkers to check the group and/or individual animal’s performance and health.
The camera is designed and built to sustain the elements of pig farming. From small to large scale deployment, monitoring, and management.
The project is set to focus on animal welfare and the profitability of farmers. Serket and Hikvision are set to validate a solution to reduce heat stress of pigs via behavioral analysis and feed supplement intervention resulting in sustainable practices and improved farm productivity.
Furthermore, Serket aims to develop an integrated service platform that automatically detects heat stress in pigs at an early stage and provides a targeted response with an alleviating supplement.
This solution can be deployed across pig houses and pens and helps farmers have more control over their livestock, fine-tune the feeding system, and reduce excessive use of antibiotic treatments, ultimately reducing the mortality rate.
Dileep Sharma, Marketing Lead at Serket, says: “By gaining more control, taking action using predictive analytics, data, and valuable insights the farmer can optimize their livestock operation and overall performance and management of their herd. In this way, technology can play a significant role in supporting farmers, although it will never replace them.”
Innovative AI solutions coupled with already existing surveillance camera systems make it possible for farmers to more effectively distribute their precious time. With the help of Hikvision and Serket’s solution, farmers can direct their attention to the individual animals that need their intervention more quickly and with care.
1 HAS University of Applied Sciences Study
2 The WHO identifies Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is currently the most alarming issue for human health. AMR already causes 700,000 deaths/year. It is estimated that 10 million deaths due to AMR will occur every year after 2050.