EU-PLF partners Fancom and SoundTalks successfully installed vision and sound recording equipment in a total of 15 pig and poultry commercial farms and a cough monitor in an experimental calf farm. These activities fall within Work Package (WP) 2 of the EU-PLF project.
A lot of data is being currently generated by the systems and being gathered by the equipment (Tasks 2.2 and 2.3 within WP 2). The obtained data are being analysed to determine the best way they can be translated into indicators or management tools to better assist famers in the care of their animals (Tasks 3.2) .There have been a few technical and logistical problems encountered during the installation of the equipment and during the time of data collection. The problems range from lack of proper internet connection to mice eating the cables to unstable electric power and abrupt power-off. For each problem, a possible solution including a checklist of things to watch out for have been provided. The list of problems encountered as well as solutions used is a very important part of the “blue-print” which will be the final result of the EU-PLF project; and thus have been and are still being carefully recorded. It is the aim of EU-PLF that the creation of the blue-print will assist others in their development of PLF devices.
The analysis of data is part of WP 3. This includes labelling of the raw data received from the vision and sound monitors and creating models and algorithms to “translate” these data into key indicators of the health, welfare and productivity of the animals; dust and ammonia emissions assessment; and/or management tools for the farmer. An example of how this “translation” works is given in the figure on the right. Data is collected every day on the distribution of chickens in a building. When the distribution deviates significantly from “normal” – red dotted days in the figure, an SMS could be sent to the farmer warning him/her through another integrated software application.
Equipment in dairy farms is currently under progress and will be reported on later.