Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists are employing 3-D imaging to protect piglets by monitoring adult female sows behaviour.
The data gathered will help analyze a cow’s behaviour, that is, where and how much time the animal spends resting, walking, grazing, eating, drinking, standing, sitting or lying with her udder facing left or right.
Tami Brown-Brandl, Agricultural Engineer, U.S. Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, and a team of scientists from China, Iowa Select Farms and Iowa State University developed a system to automatically process and analyze 3-D images of sows when the camera is mounted to capture images of a sow’s.
The system, which accurately classifies behaviour, could potentially help prevent sows from crushing their piglets and reduce the 15 percent of pre-weaned piglets that die each year as reported by the U.S pork producers.
Tami Brown-Brandl said; “This technology will allow swine producers to better monitor their pigs and determine whether management adjustments, such as changes in crate size or pen arrangement, are needed, The data could also help producers locate sick animals more quickly.”
In addition, It will help develop methods for monitoring animals for sickness, feeding, and other factors and will help save swine producers the sum of $300 million that are lost to heat stress related illness in pigs.
According to ARS agricultural engineer, Tamil Brown-Brandl, the technology evaluates the behaviour of sow and piglet in their stalls because animal behavior contains vital clues about health and well-being that producers can use to better manage their livestock.