According to The Guardian, Pig farming in China has taken another step to streamline operations in order to save costs, shorten breeding times and even improve pig welfare. The new tool is face recognition technology for pigs.
Danish agriculture experts do, however, not see the same potential in the new technology.
Professor Jan Tind Sørensen, head of the section for Welfare at the Department of Animal Science at Aarhus University said however, that the technology most likely has greater prospects in cattle than in pigs because its very limited what can be done for individual pigs.
“I doubt that individual facial recognition of a pig will have a greater market value,” Professor Jan Tind Sørensen says.
“There is very little that can be done individually for the pigs and piglets. But in agriculture, all kinds of digital solutions are generally worked on a lot and research is in full swing – also at our department,” he adds.
China is the world’s largest exporter of pork and is expected to increase production next year by nine percent. Half of all pigs in the world are believed to live in China, but recent years have been very turbulent for pig producers in China because African swine fever has ended the life of around 40 percent of the country’s pigs. Attempts are now being made to make up for this loss by developing and refining digital pig production to an even greater degree.
Each individual pig, like humans for example, has a unique distinctive feature in the head, and if you have sufficiently smart technology, it can be used for individual recognition and monitoring of the individual pig. When the individual pig is constantly identified and monitored, it’s possible to tailor the feeding, detect irregularities such as disease or decreased appetite very early and monitor the pigs heart rate and temperature.
According to local farmers the new technologies have reduced the cost of pig farming by 30-50 percent but for the time being the modern digitalization is so expensive that only the largest pig producers can participate and not the individual Chinese farmer.