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Know your herd: the future of livestock monitoring solutions

30 May 2018

The Pig Site speaks to Piers Hampson, Head of Antelliq, about their latest innovative technology solutions for keeping track of herd health, welfare and productivity

Can you give a brief description of the product and its function in livestock production?

Allflex Livestock Monitoring solutions collect and analyse critical data points both on an individual and herd level. Individual animal data can be collected on behaviours like: activity level, rumination, eating, heat stress. Using these along with data collected from the environment such as and milk yield in milking animals, helps create a picture of herd behaviours and individual behaviours in the herd.

This data translated into various reports, trends, KPI and alerts enables the farmer to get crucial information to manage the farm. Informed decisions can be made on reproduction, health, feeding and the well-being of his animals. The data is provided to the farmer in a variety of options PC, tablets and phone. Each of these is designed to suit the need of farms of every size.

How does the application of the technology differ between species?

Each species and farming method requires different algorithms and different sets of tools and applications. We currently monitor dairy and beef cattle with dedicated algorithms and continuous-improvement methodologies that are designed and developed according to the species behaviour and patterns. We provide sensors in different form factors in order to be able to fit animals throughout its life cycle, from calves to mature animals and in a variety of operational situations.

In a similar way, our technologies are used to provide owners of companion animals with products which improve the ability to monitor the pet in various daily scenarios increasing owner peace of mind and their ability to understand the health and well-being of the pets they care for. We aim to connect people with more species including pigs.

Do you monitor different environmental and physical factors for different livestock species?

We currently provide insight into the effects of heat and humidity on cattle wellbeing and performances. This can have a huge economic impact on production. This information is used by the farmer to action changes to the animal’s environment such as cooling, shading and other ways to relieve the stress caused by heat, creating better conditions which benefit both the animal and the farmer.

How does it optimise how livestock are reared?

The biggest challenge in animal farming today is the lack of data points to rely on. In recent years and under ever growing economic and regulatory constraints, farms have become much larger that they use to be only a decade or two ago. Farms now have huge numbers of animals making the direct interaction of staff with all the animals impossible. At the same time the availability of professional staff who have the knowledge and experience to visually monitor animals is also decreasing. The only solution to these challenges is technology. Every animal is monitored with all the data being translated and sorted to highlight important trends and direct the farmer to take the actions needed. Our technology also compliments this approach tools for other stake holders and professionals around the farmer. Vets and nutritionist can gain access to the data while they are on the farm or far away helping them to work with the farmers more efficiently.

What are the benefits of the technology to farmers?

Our monitoring solutions provide the insights and analytics that are essential for optimising the productivity of every animal, thereby maximising herd performance and helping to ensure a secure and prosperous future for their farms and their families. Main benefits (in cattle):

  • Highly accurate oestrous detection which is essential for effective reproduction using artificial Early detection of health issues, enabling pre-emptive action.
  • Real-time alerts on acute health situations enable prompt action to save animal life.
  • Monitoring animal feeding and nutritional changes.
  • Supervising farm routine to enable large farms to keep standard procedures and detect abnormal changes.
  • Easy-to-use, user friendly system with wide option to access it in the farm or remotely.
  • Cloud based, integration and dashboard solutions to engage other relevant stakeholders (vet, nutritionists).

What are the benefits of the technology to vets?

The ability to detect minute changes in the animal behaviour translated by sophisticated algo together with the expertise of highly experienced vets, provide a very efficient tool to help the vets and the farmers to deal with the health of the animals.

Cows that are suspected of being sick are listed on a daily basis and detected earlier than they would have been detected visually. This eliminates the need for daily visual inspections which are very labour intensive. The early detection reduces the damage and gives a better chance of early recovery. The same tools are also beneficial in providing indications of the recovery of the animal and the effectiveness of the treatments.

In addition to individual animal health our solution provides KPI at the herd level to help vets in evaluating the overall condition of the herd.

Who owns the data collected?

The data belongs to the farmers according to the systems policy and terms.

Are these data publicly accessible (transparency in the supply chain)?

As a group, we very well known for our traceability and accountability in the supply chain and we are main player in it, enabling the official identification of millions of animal in many countries. When it comes to monitoring data, we act in the same way, enabling when required the connection and integration with our solutions. We do not provide open access directly to our technologies, but we enable others to do it, enabling specific access when required and authorised by the data owners.

Is the focus of the data collection on the individual animal or the whole herd?

Both. The monitoring solutions collect and analyse critical data points, on several animal states from activity to rumination, on every individual cow, delivering the heat, health and nutrition insights. In addition, groups and herd are monitored to for efficient and profitable herd management with dedicated applications that provides status of groups and herd as a whole while highlighting irregularities in activity and rumination in real time at the group or herd level.

How does this technology compare to other products available in the market?

Antelliq technology is superior to other products due to several advantages, first is a unique combination of highly experienced animal professionals working hand in hand with top algorithm, programming and hardware engineers to form the largest team globally focused on animal monitoring. This team creates tool which are both practical and friendly to use when compared to competing products.

Secondly, over 60 years of experience developing and manufacturing tags ensures our capability to sell and support millions of tags that must perform well in a very harsh environment, providing farmers with a reliable product that performs for many years.

How much does the whole system (technology and the software) cost?

Prices are related to the selected solution based on a comprehensive and fully scalable offering. Based on different application levels and types and/or number of sensors in the farm. In typical situation, the return on investment of our solution is 12-18 months which makes it a very good investment for the farmer. Today we are also offer various payment plans including the option of a subscription to reduce the initial investment.

What developments can we expect in the future?

In the future, we will continue to harness cutting-edge technologies to provide a greater breadth of actionable information for customers. Using advanced machine learning and data analytics, running both on-premises and cloud-based solutions, our technologies will cover the entire data intelligence workflow and continue to support farmers in the growing need to feed the world in an efficient and sustainable way.

Where can people find out more about your products or ask further questions?

Group – Antelliq.com
Livestock – Allflex.global
Pet care – Surepetcare.com
Fish & Aquaculture – Biomark.com

 



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