Development and Performance Assessment of an Animal Monitoring System

Dutton, Simon (2017) Development and Performance Assessment of an Animal Monitoring System. [USQ Project]


The Australian pork industry is encouraged to maintain free range pig production but the free range philosophy is not without its challenges. During hot Australian summers sows with piglets choose to spend more time in wallows. In the meantime, their piglets are confined to the farrowing huts during the very important first week where their mother’s milk is their only source of food. As a result, suckling frequency and weaning weights are reduced. This can also lead to piglet starvation and more incidences of piglet rollover where the Sow can crush the piglets. Cooling systems have been trialled overseas with promising results. In light of this, PIWA (Pork Innovation WA) want to introduce a novel farrow hut cooling system for Australian conditions. The hope is that providing a cooler farrowing hut will encourage Sows to spend more time in their huts during hot summer periods and less time in the wallows.

For a cooling system to be trialled and deemed a success PIWA will need to assess the effectiveness of the system. This entails the design and development of an animal monitoring system specifically for Sows.

The objective of this dissertation is to design and implement a remote monitoring system that will assist the animal scientist in discovering links between the new optimised environment and the Sows output based on observed behaviour and measured outputs.

The system will be evaluated based on whether specification was met.

Ultimately the data provided by the monitoring system will be a major influence in proving or disproving the hypothesis that the coolers used in free range pig production farms can be of any economic benefit.

Methods of evaluation involved onsite observation, remote monitoring and cross corroboration.

The results from this dissertation go some way in proving the system developed is effective at doing this. Namely, the use of the Raspberry Pi platform, photoelectric sensors and video camera. Further work requires the testing of thermal cameras and computer vision.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Mechatronics)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Banhazi, Thomas; Low, Tobias; Wilson, Rob; Loudon, Emalyn
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2022 03:33
Last Modified: 06 Sep 2022 03:33
Uncontrolled Keywords: animal monitoring system; remote monitoring; sows

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