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PIG DATA: Health analytics for Swiss pig farming

 

So far, Big Data has had little impact on agricultural animal husbandry. This project examines ways of making pig farming in Switzerland more efficient and improving animal welfare by using animal health data.

Portrait / project description (ongoing research project)

Key partners in all areas of pig production (such as farmers, veterinary surgeons, marketing organisations, animal feed manufacturers and slaughter companies) make their data available. The subjects covered include health and performance data from pig herds, as well as mortality statistics and slaughter analyses. Our interdisciplinary research group is developing a data storage system, the Pig Data Space, which will amalgamate this heterogeneous data. Based on this, we are developing analytical methods that constantly and independently recognise and analyse temporal and spatial samples, identify logical connections and make forecasts. The various participants in the production network can access this information in real time and use it immediately to help them make decisions.

Background

Large data volumes can no longer be analysed using conventional methods; they have to be made usable by applying new methods. So far, such methods have not had any impact on animal husbandry even though they would be of great interest for pig farming in Switzerland in particular. Swiss pig production differs from the intensive production systems used in other European countries because of its complex, small-scale structure. Although all stages of production generate animal health data, it is not being used in a way that brings together all the various stages. If this information is suitably prepared and analysed, it will be possible to recognise new links, causes and risk factors in relation to diseases and/or a drop in performance – and to identify the best strategies for combating them.

Aim

The project will develop new methods aimed at gaining a better understanding of, and optimising, the structure and complexity of the pig farming and production network in Switzerland. This will not only utilise existing data but also tap into potential sources of new data – in order to improve animal health, boost animal welfare and make pig production more sustainable.

Relevance/application

The results of this project will enable livestock owners and veterinary surgeons to take steps to improve animal health and prevent disease in their pig farming operations. Optimised production processes will lead to greater efficiency, sustainability and value creation in Swiss animal production. Ultimately, end users will also benefit from improvements in animal health, reduced antibiotic use and the resulting foodstuffs. We would also like to make the prototype of the Pig Data Space accessible to marketing organisations, veterinary surgeons and farmers, so that they can make beneficial use of the system to help them with future questions and decisions.

Original title

PIG DATA: Health Analytics for the Swiss Swine Industry

Project leaders

  • Dr. John Berezowski, Veterinary Public Health Institute Vetsuisse-Fakultät, Universität Bern
  • Dr. Rolf Grütter, Eidg. Forschungsanstalt für Wald, Schnee und Landschaft WSL
  • Prof. Abraham Bernstein, Institut für Informatik, Universität Zürich
  • Prof. Heiko Nathues, Clinic for swine, Department of Veterinary Clinical Medicine, University of Berne
  • Dr. Christina Nathues Veterinary Public Health Institute, Vetsuisse-Fakultät, Universität Bern

 

 

Further information on this content

 Contact

Dr. John Berezowski Veterinary Public Health Institute Vetsuisse-Fakultät, Universität Bern Schwarzenburgstrasse 155 3097 Liebefeld john.berezowski@vetsuisse.unibe.ch

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