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Livestock production sensors to be show focus

Guiding theme for EuroTier 2018 is "Digital Animal Farming," and event will present international know-how on use of sensors to take guesswork out of livestock management.

November 8, 2018

2 Min Read
Livestock production sensors to be show focus

The theme at EuroTier 2018, which takes place Nov. 13-16 at the Hanover Exhibition Center in Germany, is "Digital Animal Farming – Management Support. Animal Health. Food Safety." The event will highlight technologies for successfully combining productivity and animal welfare, as well as information management and the sustainable use of natural resources.

Highlighted will be how sensors and control units can be networked to keep multiple interacting parameters within their ideal ranges to produce the best climate and lighting for any livestock species. Cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry all place different demands on their environment, and sensors and climate control systems can monitor and manage these requirements. They can also alert the farmer if something goes wrong, which is very important where pollutants are involved, so that action can be taken quickly to rectify the situation.

Sensors are said to provide objective information for use by farmers looking after all livestock species. Take humidity, for example: If it is too low, it can damage an animal's respiratory system, but if it is too high, that also can be bad as the moist air will condense into water in the building, which can promote mold and corrosion.

While sensors for indoor climate and lighting control aid management of all animals in a building, special sensors also are available that allow for monitoring of individual animals. Already, sensors allow identification of the animal and its activity, including motion profile and feeding behavior, while physiological data, such as the pH of the rumen or body temperature, can also be detected readily.

The ideal situation, some experts say, would be to monitor every animal throughout its lifetime. Milk, meat, eggs and other farm products are already tested along the value chain, and earlier information collected at the individual animal level –- for example, milk quality monitoring that is already carried out on some dairy farms –- would complete the data set.

These new developments are rapidly gaining momentum, and according to professor Dr. Wolfgang Lücke, president of the University of Osnabrück, the artificial intelligence used to analyze the data collected by sensors is creating entirely new options in agriculture. The expertise of the individual farmer will influence if and how the new technologies are used.

Sensors, either for the entire buildings or individual animals, can be retrofitted into existing systems or installed as part of the construction of new livestock accommodation.

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