Project code: 2810ERA046
Contract period: 01.09.2011
Budget: 120,270 Euro
Purpose of research: Applied research
The aim of the project is to develop an ICT based tool that can be used to monitor performance and welfare of pigs at the individual level in order to detect problems at an early stage and hence preventing economical losses. This will be done by combining an innovative individual online-monitoring system based on HF RFID, camera vision technology and software. Computer-aided analysis of individual animals data enables to treat each animal as a production unit, define animal based threshold values and hence develop an Early Warning System (EWS) for potential drops in performance or potential health. Individual feeding behaviour of group-housed pigs will be monitored by means of HF RFID. A camera vision based identification system will be used for validation of the HF RFID technology.
The first issue is to integrate all the hardware and software components of the RFID and sensor system through a unique infrastructure. Thereafter feeding behaviour data of individual pigs will be recorded online with HF RFID in two different experiments (12 month each). Normal variation within pigs and between pigs in RFID-parameters will be defined during the whole production period depending on the pigs age and the environmental factors and transformed into performance and welfare related parameters. Using the collected RFID parameters algorithms will be developed to detect deviations in the RFID data. Based on these algorithms, an EWS can be developed. The EWS gives an alarm if the displaced feeding behaviour of an individual pig or of a group of pigs differs from the expected feeding behaviour. For example, a pig displaying a reduced number and duration of feed visits, or even a lack of visits or too great pauses between visits, will be timely signalled and the pig farmer can intervention quickly. Finally the EWS will be validated concerning its Sensitivity and Specificity under practical conditions.