Are you familiar with the acronym IoT? It means the Internet of Things and talks about the ways that technology has spilled over into our homes. We have “smart” televisions, phones and even smart lightbulbs. As we add more and more of these devices into our homes, they are actually “learning.” This is called machine learning as well as AI (artificial intelligence), and it is even appearing in farming operations, including pig farming.
As one recent article described it: “Imagine a future where the health status and body weight of every pig on the farm could be accessed individually on a mobile phone app; a future where sensor networks would continually monitor pig behaviour, feed consumption and barn climates in real-time, and could alert producers when these variables deviated from the normal range.”
This, the article goes on to explain, is where farming is headed. In fact, it describes it as a new reality where “precision livestock farming” will use all of the latest innovations as well as “big data” to yield optimal results.
As an example, big data can be rapidly evaluated to tell farmers and other interested groups where disease migration routes might exist or even predict the most likely areas of outbreak. It can track from the farrowing shed to the market.
As the article also said, “the capacity for computers to remotely detect changes in pig behaviour are mind-boggling. For example, cameras located above the pens can now accurately track the behaviour of groups of pigs to detect behaviours such as huddling, feeding, fighting and tail biting.” It noted that video can monitor sow behaviour, estimate bodyweight of growers, detect slight body temperature changes that indicate illness, audibly detect respiratory or pain indicators, and more.
Precision livestock farming is the almost inevitable next phase in pig farming. There are many benefits, but there are also some challenges that have to overcome. For example, housing has to be capable of sustaining the use of more delicate technologies.
IDS Pigs is already ahead of the game and has been designing bespoke and advanced pig housing for decades. Learn how the solutions available can help you become a pig farmer ready for tomorrow’s innovations.