Understanding the data collected at the farm trials

During the last months, ClearFarm researchers in Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands have been testing on farm sensors and gathering data about cow’s and pig’s welfare.

The development of algorithms relevant to gain more insight in animal welfare requires detailed analyses and understanding of the data collected during the ClearFarm trials in pig and dairy cattle farms. The information gathered from a selection of commercially available sensors since last January is now being studied by the project’s scientists, who are setting the basis for an accurate algorithm generation.

In the Netherlands, the video material of the first trial has been analysed and the team is currently evaluating the data of the automatic feeding stations (PLF) all related to fattening pigs. The objective is to deepen the understanding of feeding patterns of individual fattening pigs (frequency of visits, duration of visits, time of visits, etc.) and combine this information with the collected animal health, production and behavioural data.

The data collection at two sow farms, one organic and one conventional, has started and will continue for at least one year. At these farms, ClearFarm scientists focus again on feeding patterns collected via automatic feeding stations, behaviour, health and reproduction performance.

In Denmark, researchers are analysing data of the previous trial and a new trial has started in which automatic weight and behaviour recording sensors are used. In Spain the Copeeks sensor has been externally validated during the data collection in spring. Collection of sensor data is ongoing at the different farms. Besides saliva and hair is collected for biomarkers which can be related to for example output of the sensors.

Important steps have been made to collect data in a standardised way to assess the environmental and economic impact. Themes and indicators have been identified and relevant questions have been formulated. Next, data will be collected on the different farms.

Next steps

In the Netherlands, another trial with fattening pigs is currently in process. It is basically a repetition of the first trial, though more detailed questions are addressed. 3D cameras of DoL have also been installed. These sensors will allow ClearFarm scientists to get automatic estimations of the body weight of individual fattening pigs. In Spain, on-farm data collection continues and some extra focus is given to transport and slaughterhouse data. In parallel, the generated data is being analysed and applied to adjust and develop the algorithm that will work as the basis for the ClearFarm platform.