In the ever-evolving landscape of agriculture, technological advancements have played a pivotal role in reshaping traditional practices. Pig farming, too, has undergone a transformative journey, with automated systems and cutting-edge technologies optimizing resource management and ensuring the well-being of the animals. In this post, I’ll guide you through a tour of a pig farm in the year 2043. I’ll explore the various production stages, address challenges, and unveil future-proof solutions that define the pig farming industry of tomorrow.
Reproduction: Reproduction is the foundation of any pig farming operation. In 2043, artificial insemination has become a widespread practice, albeit labor-intensive. However, the integration of computer vision technology has revolutionized heat detection. Cameras above the animals register and analyze movements, precisely marking the time of oestrus, streamlining the insemination process.
Gestation: Challenges in the gestation phase, such as abortions, are addressed through advanced monitoring. Computer vision detects mounting activity and analyzes behavioral patterns, identifying potential issues like lameness and aggression. Cameras provide real-time insights, ensuring the well-being of the animals.
Farrowing: Farrowing, a critical stage, now benefits from real-time tracking using microphones and cameras. These connected devices, integrated into livestock management systems, enable precise monitoring of nesting behavior, farrowing initiation, and piglet count. This ensures that no event goes unnoticed, guaranteeing the health and safety of both sows and piglets.
Lactation:Technology continues to play a crucial role in the lactation period, addressing challenges like piglet crushing. Smart solutions, including sow crates with moving floor elements, minimize the risk of piglet injuries. Visual and vocal recognition, powered by computer vision and microphones, further enhances monitoring, ensuring adequate colostrum intake for all piglets.
Nursery: The nursery period introduces climate control measures through smart panels, reducing stress on piglets. Smart injectors connected to livestock management systems track medical treatments, while advanced monitoring methods detect early signs of post-weaning diarrhea. Automated systems intervene, preventing outbreaks and minimizing the need for antibiotics.
Finishing: Tail biting, a common issue during the finishing period, is tackled with cameras and artificial intelligence. Analyzing algorithms identify biting behaviors, allowing farmers to intervene promptly. Smart scales and computer vision technology enable real-time weight monitoring, facilitating individualized feeding programs. Removal robots efficiently handle the challenging task of removing deceased pigs from pens.
Whether in the farrowing room or nursery department, farmers can instantly retrieve essential information about each animal, from health status to upcoming treatments, promoting efficiency and informed decision-making.
As we glimpse into the future of pig farming, one thing is clear—the farmer of tomorrow will face the challenge of producing more meat with less impact on the environment, increased animal welfare, and reduced manpower per animal. However, with a combination of accumulated knowledge and precision monitoring techniques, the industry is poised to stay at the forefront of global agriculture. The journey toward excellence continues, driven by a commitment to innovation and sustainability.
Credits: This text has been presented in a webinar organized by Serket, 3 November 2023. To see the full webinar recording, click here