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MU Researchers Advance Pig Breeding Techniques

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New technology continues to permeate the piggery. A researcher at the University of Missouri is looking at an artificial intelligence system that detects sows in heat. Another focuses on extending the lifespan of boar semen.

Both projects are funded by the MUs College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources through the CAFNR Ag-celerator for Agricultural Technologies (CAAT) program, whose goal is to accelerate innovation from concept to market.

Heat Sensing AI

Mr. Jianfeng Zhou, MU Assistant Professor of Plant Science and Technology, was awarded $15,000 for his project Smart Sow estrus detection system using artificial intelligence (AI) camera system.

Zhou and his team say they will use the grant for future tests to validate an AI-enabled robotic sow estrus detection system on research and commercial pig farms. They are using this funding to build a second-generation prototype with more advanced AI algorithms and an improved robotic platform to work on pig farms.

Zhou said the award will allow commercial setups to collect more data, fine-tune the technology, and make it available to pig farmers. Full-scale commercialization is expected through partnerships with major pig farmers.

He says the project has had a significant impact both in Missouri and beyond, as labor issues are hitting Missouri and global agricultural markets. Pig farmers face the challenge of hiring enough skilled workers.

New technologies such as advanced sensors, robotics and AI are transforming traditional farming into more efficient smart farming, Zhou said. With the success of this project, it is hoped that providing a robotic system will allow him to reduce the effort required to detect estrus in sows by 50%. Data-driven decision-making is also expected to optimize management, improve sow reproduction and increase profits for sow farmers.

This innovation has already been selected for potential commercialization by the MU Technology Advancement Office. A provisional patent has been applied for.

Receiving this funding means a lot to our research program, says Zhou. This allows us to continue to improve our innovations. Without funding, it is almost impossible to scale up experiments and validate innovations on large farm setups.

Second, seed funding allows us to obtain more data for applying for large-scale funding from external agencies. Furthermore, with this funding, CAFNR gives us the confidence and encouragement to undertake translational research projects like this.

viable semen

Peter Stovsky, MU Professor of Animal Science, was awarded $49,945 for a unique composition and additive for his project, wild boar semen preservation.

Stovsky and his team test specific sperm cell-protective additives in boar semen expanders used to prepare sperm doses for artificial insemination. breeding management. This technology will help increase profitability and reduce the environmental footprint of hog farming operations in Missouri and beyond.

Better semen expanders with more viable sperm cells result in better pregnancy rates and larger litter sizes, says Stovsky. There is also less laborious re-insemination that has to be done on production farms, and fewer adult boars to be kept on boar stallions.

There are now 60,000 pork producers in the United States, supporting 550,000 jobs and selling 15 million hogs a year, Stovsky says. Higher fertility in pigs could bring producers an estimated $135 million a year from just one more piglet per litter.

“We are very grateful for this award and appreciate the support we have received from CAFNR,” said Sutovsky. The CAAT initiative is a very worthwhile undertaking and will undoubtedly reinvigorate our faculty and allied researchers working on potentially marketable research.

CAAT is an annual competition. For more information on grants, visit CAFNR online.

Source: University of Missouri College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any content contained in this information asset.

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