Precision Livestock Farming

Need for good and affordable sensor systems for monitoring of stable climate and ammonia emissions

Good indoor air quality plays an important role in animal production. Mechanical ventilation is adopted in many farms to remove dirty air and bring fresh air into the stables. The measure however lacks a monitoring tool to provide feedback and assure both air quality and thermal comfort of the animals are optimized. Ammonia (NH3) and carbon-dioxide (CO2) are two main components that affect air quality in pig barns. Excessive exposure to both gases is hazardous to health and safety. Moreover, NH3 is also one of the primary pollutant addressed by Flemish government and European Union due to its dramatic environmental impact such as acidification and eutrophication. Standard gas measuring protocols mostly rely on costly equipments and complex procedures, and thus infavored for neither frequent nor large scale monitoring. An affordable gas measurement system is desired. Such system can be used for monitoring the efficiency of indoor climate control regimes and emission reduction stretagies in both daily practice and research.

No sensor available for continuous follow-up of individual sow behaviour and position

Behaviour is a key aspect in health and welfare of farm animals. Many behavioural parameters have been proven useful in disease detection. The parameters are also interesting for research purposes in ethology study such as social interaction, hierarchy in a group and habituation in farm environment. Many techniques have been applied to measure specific behavioural parameters, but very few is capable of monitoring multiple behaviour simultaneously. A compact system for monitoring animal behaivour is required. Indoor positioning system is a relatively new technologies in farming practice of pigs. The system can not only assisst farmers to easily localize individual animals, but also monitor variant activities and parameters by means kinematic variables such as speed and distance covered. In research behaviour monitoring will allow a comprehensive understanding of the impact of different infrastructure and how pigs cope with the farm environment.