The swine industry continues to experience substantial economic losses due to respiratory disease outbreaks in modern pig production, impacting productivity, antibiotic usage, and animal welfare. SoundTalks, a cloud-based 24/7 non-invasive sound sensor technology, transforms the sound data collected inside the farm into a Respiratory Health Status (ReHS) metric, well demonstrated to be the swine industry gold standard for respiratory clinical signs evaluation.
In this article, we would like to highlight the outcomes of the latest research on the technology, presented at the 2023 European Symposium on Porcine Health Management (ESPHM2023) held in Thessaloniki, Greece, this last month of May.
In this study, conducted together with a large swine producer from Spain, it was shown that one of their best caregivers was able to intervene 2.6 days faster (average) to the diﬀerent coughing episodes with the assistance of SoundTalks, compared to their normal farm protocols, without the assistance of SoundTalks, despite feed and water monitoring (Figure 1). This earlier intervention led to a to better respiratory health and translated in a smaller slaughter weight variability. This study shows, once again, that early detection leads to early intervention which by itself has an economic advantage.
SoundTalks can help farmers and vets to objectively assess the health status of their herd and therefore, to reduce and optimise timing of disease diagnostic. Both assessments together, are key to support a more responsible usage of antibiotics based, not only on disease patterns and accurate timing of the treatment, but also based on the capability to accurately measured the eﬀectiveness of the interventions. In this oral presentation, Dr Rathkjen presented a study from Denmark demonstrating how SoundTalks helped farmers and vets to recognise root causes of health problems reducing in 28% the use of antibiotics compared to non-monitoring groups.
In 2 studies, performed by practitioners and research institutions, the correlation of PRRSv, Inﬂuenza A Virus and Mycoplasma hyopneumonia (the 3 most important respiratory disease pathogens in swine), measured by oral ﬂuid and air samples, and the ReHS status of the group over time was analysed. Results demonstrated a high degree of correlation between the pathogen presence detected overtime by PCR and the SoundTalks ReHS curve.
Unlike with subjective data, objective data can be aggregated and used for benchmarking, for monitoring of processes at diﬀerent levels of granularity as well as to detect trends and patterns. To demonstrate this trends and patterns, a large data set from a large number of farms across the globe was analysed and clustered and ReHS data clustered by geographic region. The data shows clearly that there is a seasonal pattern regarding respiratory health, especially in Northern Europe and North America.
Overall, the data presented at the ESPHM is adding to the evidence that SoundTalks is a highly innovative health and welfare solution for pig producers that are looking for competitive advantages derived from data. Thanks to all the researchers and practitioners that were involved in these studies providing unique knowledge for a more proﬁtable, and sustainable swine production.