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Data fanatics and pig experts team up to develop apps

A special ‘hackathon’ has yielded a series of interesting solutions for the swine industry at the recently held AgriVision in the Netherlands.

In the hackathon, in total 5 groups of swine and IT experts grouped together for 24 hours to see if they could come up with innovative solutions for the swine industry using modern technology and Big Data.

Connecting data in real time

The winning team – chosen by the expert audience at AgriVision with 30.4% of the votes – presented an innovation called ‘SwineSmarts’, essentially a solution connecting data in real time that hitherto have remained somewhat more obscure for players in the industry, like for instance genetics and slaughter data and presenting them in a nice app. The winning team won €2,500.

The winning team received the first prize from keynote speaker at AgriVision, Mr Kofi Annan, former secretary-general at the United Nations. Photo: Vincent ter Beek
The winning team received the first prize from keynote speaker at AgriVision, Mr Kofi Annan, former secretary-general at the United Nations. Photo: Vincent ter Beek

Checking up on pigs is reduced to a minimum

Runners-up were the team of Piglantir, getting 28.4% of the votes. This encompassed an initiative where checking up on pigs would be reduced to as few visits as possible. Technology would be able to take care of everything, using snout detection, sensors and cameras to identify and manage all pigs.

Porklane was the name of the number 3 seeded innovation (23.7% of the votes). This idea revolved around connecting pig producers with retailers as well as consumers using one app, thus achieving precision marketing for retailers and precision ordering for customers.

Pig behaviour analysis

The 4th place went to an innovation called PigAlert (10.1%), aimed at pig behaviour analysis. Just by looking at how pigs behave, e.g. performance and feed intake, it would be possible to know a lot about how the animals are doing – and allow quick intervention in the barn if necessary. Sensors like cameras and mikes would be the ‘eyes and ears’ in the barn.

The 5th ranked innovation was FedBest (7.4%), revolving around the question of how to optimise sow feed curves during gestation. The concept would involve a self-learning model to optimise the feed curves for every sow at the trough – after all not all sows have the same litter size, body condition or genetic make-up.

Mobilising tech-savy and creative minds in agriculture

The hackathon was an initiative of Farmhack, a Dutch company which hopes to encourage innovative developments in the range of more data-driven production. On its website, the company describes itself: “By mobilising tech savy and creative minds to agriculture, FarmHack.NL tries to use the full potential of data and technology and aims at empowered farmers, smarter farming, and diversified business ideas.”

The initiative was supported by Agrisyst, Hendrix Genetics, Nedap, Nutreco and Vion who shared data for the participants.

Kofi Annan speaking at AgriVision

AgriVision is the biannual top-level agricultural event of Netherlands-based global animal nutrition company Nutreco. It was held in Noordwijk-aan-Zee, 13-15 June. The main speaker at the event was Kofi Annan, former secretary-general at the United Nations.

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