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Pig Farmers Get Smart


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A pig.

A European-backed research effort, ALL-SMART-PIGS, is developing technologies to convert pig farms into smart farms.

Credit: Peta.org

The ALL-SMART-PIGS project is a European Union-backed research effort that is developing technologies for turning pig farms into smart farms.

"ALL-SMART-PIGS aims to come up with a package of technologies to make pig farming more profitable while at the same time improving animal welfare," says project coordinator Heiner Lehr.

The researchers are using sensors to detect animals' needs, and satisfying those needs more quickly will result in healthier animals that grow faster, Lehr notes. The equipment is designed to generate valuable insight into feed efficiency conversion, which is a key metric for both farmers and feed companies to evaluate how efficiently animals convert feed to weight gain. Lehr says these types of projects require a high level of coordination. "The big challenge has been getting everything to work together and bringing the entire supply chain from the feed suppliers to the slaughterhouses on board," he says.

Lehr notes the project provides a model to achieve effective collaboration. Although large-scale producers can expect the greatest payback, "even smaller production units will get a return from investing in some smart technologies--if they choose wisely," Lehr says.

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