MSD Animal Health has announced that the 2020 High-Quality Pork – Precision Farming Award has been granted to Tami Brown-Brandl, Ph.D., professor of biological systems engineering at the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The award, which grants up to US$200,000 (£146,000) towards project implementation with an interested customer in 2021, was created to encourage technological innovation to solve real-world technology challenges in the swine industry.
Dr Brown-Brandl and her team’s project, titled “Next-Generation Grow-Finish Swine Health and Growth Monitoring,” validated the efficacy of an innovative radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology and depth cameras to monitor feeding/drinking behaviors and weight gain in pigs to accurately detect anomalous events as well as acute and chronic illnesses.
Such data provides critical information in real time that would help the farmer make better pig management intervention decisions, potentially leading to substantial economic benefits for pig producers worldwide. As a result of the study, the monitoring system and other technology solutions will be further developed to improve early illness detection and market weight estimation, ultimately improving precision animal management for the swine industry.
“We are pleased to recognise Dr. Brown-Brandl for her innovative approach to next-generation swine health and growth monitoring, which has the potential to advance pig farming and the health and well-being of swine,” said Rika Jolie, DVM, Ph.D, MBA, global swine lead, Merck Animal Health.
“As a company, we strive to extend the range of technological solutions we can provide our customers, so we are proud to offer the High-Quality Pork – Precision Farming Award to help identify science-based technology solutions to industry challenges.”
Dr Brown-Brandl was selected through a competitive process that included a diverse pool of candidates from around the world, including Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and South America. Entrants presented a wide array of projects, ranging from product convenience to workforce safety and improved animal handling.
“This award is truly an honour – what an exciting time to be working in animal agriculture,” said Dr. Brown-Brandl.
“The producers, scientists and engineers working in the area of precision animal management are truly shaping the future of animal production. I appreciate MSD Animal Health joining us in helping lead that charge.”
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