PLF technologies have been implemented on a large scale in commercial farms within the EU-PLF and All-Smart-Pigs projects. The difficulties associated with installations, use and maintenance of these technologies on the farms were well documented as well as the solutions developed to overcome these challenges.
Five different PLF technologies were installed in ten commercial pig farms in several EU countries: SoundTalk’s Cough-monitor, Fancom’s eYeNamic, PLF Agritech’s Weight-DetectTM, PLF Agritech’s Feed-DetectTM and PLF Agritech’s Enviro-DetectTM. Approximately 30 main issues were identified, during the installations, use and maintenance of the equipment categorized into five main issues: maintenance, social, installation, technical and business.
Rodents or pigs damaging the cables and insects fouling the cameras’ lens are among the most common maintenance problems. However, securing the cables and cleaning the lenses regularly overcame these problems. Among the technical issues, setting up a proper internet collection proved to be sometimes difficult, however innovative solutions were implemented to overcome connection issues and further research is planned in this area. Finding solutions to face unstable power and abrupt power-off is also an important issue to think of.
Establishing good communications with the farmers prove to be one of the major keys to decrease the social issues that arose. Very high ceilings and asbestos were identified as the most challenging installation issues. This resulted in strict installation procedures implemented that also satisfied occupational health and safety requirements.
The above is a summary of the paper “Word of caution for technology providers: Practical problems associated with large scale deployment of PLF technologies on commercial farms” presented at the Joint EAAP/EU-PLF sessions of the EAAP Annual Meeting in Copenhagen (www.eaap2014.org/general-programme/scientific-programme). For more information on the paper contact: Thomas.firstname.lastname@example.org.
The proceedings of the Joint EAAP/EU-PLF sessions of the EAAP Annual Meeting in Copenhagen will be published in March 2015 by Wageningen Academic Publishers.