On July 4th, 2019, 60 persons participated in a Breed4Food seminar in Wageningen on the use of sensors and cameras for recording traits and monitoring animals in groups. Researchers shared their results and experiences, after which representatives from industry gave their vision on implementation issues. This seminar proved the added value of cooperation between research and practical implementation to use for a sustainable animal production.
Individual data collection challenging in animals in groups
Animals are housed in groups, and for animal breeding it is desired that their performance is measured individually. It would be ideal to collect longitudinal data by recording the performance of animals in their daily routine, without interference of humans. The first session showed the results of different techniques to record (a) activity of broilers, which does depend on weight class and age, and (b) steps, locomotion and weight of turkeys using different sensors as IMU tags, video imaging and force plates. The first results are promising for video imaging, supporting the vision that digital tools can do what a human eye can see (and can do that even better).
Research also showed that it is not yet straightforward to use cameras and vision techniques to detect, identify and monitor individual animals in a group. Follow-up work is still needed, as is also foreseen in running projects like GenTORE (H2020), SmartResilience (NWO), or possible new projects in the (near) future.
You can find the programme and presentations alongside.