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Technology to monitor livestock

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.

Challenge

Those are some of 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 and food safety at scale is now.

Heat stress is also 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.

Solution

Hikvision and livestock health technology expert Serket have partnered to offer a livestock monitoring and alert system to monitor pigs in a pen continuously with the aim of detecting abnormalities in behavioral patterns. The solution was installed by system integrator Surveillance Support.

The cameras, computer vision and A.I. based technology monitor the pigs’ physical activity, feeding patterns, and overall aggressiveness to inform farmers about their herd’s wellbeing.  In addition, these patterns make disease identification easier and earlier eventually leading to lower antibiotic usage.

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: "With this collaboration, we will be helping livestock managers make better decisions on pig production and profit optimization, in a responsible and sustainable way. We aim to help livestock managers review their opportunities, use data and analytics to predict their future, run dynamic scenarios to bridge the gaps either from production or nutrition to health management and food safety."

Jeroen Kolsteren, Account Manager at Surveillance Support, says: ''After clearly identifying the challenge of this project, we recommended the 4MP ColorVu camera for visual data collection, primarily for its good performance in poorly lit environments. Surveillance Support looks back on a very successful and interesting project in cooperation with Serket and Hikvision. A project that once again proves the versatile applications of today's camera systems.''

Innovative AI solutions coupled with already existing surveillance camera systems make it possible for farmers to more efficiently distribute their valuable 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 and focus on their farm operations.

 

Learn more about Serket.

Learn more about Surveillance Support.

Sources:

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.

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