Pig data meets big data: the precision pig farming revolution
- Imagine a future where the health status and body weight of every pig on the farm could be accessed individually on a mobile phone app; a future where sensor networks would continually monitor pig behaviour, feed consumption and barn climates in real time, and could alert producers when these variables deviated from the normal range. This future is rapidly becoming a reality with the arrival of precision livestock farming and big data technology, and this holds many exciting opportunities for the pork industry. In precision livestock farming, the kind of vast, complex data sets that can be mined and analysed by big data technology can be generated by sensor networks in the animal houses. Constant monitoring provides granular, detailed information that can be processed by a computer to be used by producers to optimise the management of their herds. For example, using technology to categorise a pig as lame based on the proportion of time it spent lying down is a much more useful measure than simply providing the farmer with the total amount of time that the pig spends on the floor.