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MACSO Animal health solution helps significantly reduce death rate in swine farm






Summary


MACSO has developed an innovative solution to help address labor shortages and herd health management in the swine industry. MACSO’s solution provides 24/7 wellness monitoring of animals, specifically focusing on respiratory events (coughing) and pinpointing the location for treatment. The solution was accurate, user-friendly and easy to install.


MACSO’S AI (Artificial Intelligence) Audio Sensors Tackle Labor Shortage Challenges and Enhance Herd Health in Swine Production

February 2023


The Challenge:


The swine industry is facing significant challenges, one being a shortage of skilled labor which can result in lower quality herdsmanship. Another challenge is the rapid onset of diseases such as Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and aggressive Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (APP) which can cause significant losses if not detected and treated promptly.

Over 60% of swine death across all stages of production is directly attributed to respiratory illnesses [i].

The losses associated with Swine death alone result in a 40-45% reduction per head profitability for farmers, which is before the medical and labor costs associated with treatment are added[ii]. These everyday losses exclude the impact of widescale outbreaks, which can cause catastrophic financial losses to the farms where they occur. Outbreaks associated with PRRS (Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome) alone are estimated to cost farmers in the United States around $1 billion per year[iii].

MACSO has developed an innovative solution to address these issues by incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into its audio sensors. Providing 24/7 monitoring of herd health, specifically focusing on respiratory events (coughing) and pinpointing the location for treatment.


Background:


The US study focuses on a legacy family farm that produces 60,000-70,000 pigs annually. The operation includes farrow/nursery and multiple finisher barns, both on-site and through off-site contractors. The farm has faced significant losses in the past due to the rapid spread of PRRS and swine influenza, resulting in mortality rates as high as 15-20%. To combat these challenges, the farm decided to implement MACSO’s AI audio sensor solution in their barns.


Methodology:


Twenty-eight MACSO audio sensors were installed in the farm’s nursery barns, each with a coverage radius of approximately 60 feet. The audio sensors were trained to detect respiratory events such as coughing, and these events could be customized to alert “thresholds” for the specific needs of the farm. Each sensor gathered and sent data to the cloud via the farm's Wi-Fi. The sensors sent alerts to the producer when thresholds were breached and with the specific pen/barn locations.


Results:


Over several months of 24/7 monitoring, the MACSO solution sent alerts to the herd manager that corresponded accurately to live issues in the respective pens/barns. This gave the farm faster intervention response time to save on treatment costs and lower mortality rates through MACSO’s around-the-clock monitoring.

The advanced artificial intelligence dashboard also showed patterns of herd health data, which helped to fine-tune farm planning practices. The solution was accurate, user-friendly, non-invasive and easy to install.



Figure 1: Image of MACSO Customer dashboard and prototype device.



Insights:


Onset of major respiratory diseases can occur from weeks 6 to 16 of production with some incubation rates in as little as 12 hours to three days.[iv][v]

Analysis of this critical production timeline of Weeks 1-8 of Nursery barns (age 4 weeks to 12 weeks) provided clear advantages of MACSO’s 24/7 monitoring. Mortality rates in the non-monitored barns were 2.8% (73 total lost), 5.7% (133 lost) and 5.7% (160 lost).


The monitored barn had a mortality rate significantly lower at only 1.4% (36 lost). Supporting that the monitoring system helps create faster detection and treatment to decrease pig and economic losses.



Graph 1: Comparison of mortality rate % in MACSO monitored vs. non-monitored barns.



Graph 2: Comparison of the number of pigs lost in MACSO monitored vs. non-monitored barns.


Insights continued:


The producer reported that the alerts from the MACSO sensors were fully accurate and that having a 24/7 monitor gave them the oversight they needed to ensure their pigs were healthy.

They also noted the system provided objective and consistent reporting, compared to subjective reporting by various individuals. The manager also highlighted instances where he received alerts from MACSO of coughing pigs, while their employees reported that the barn was healthy. Upon checking the specific pen, the audio sensors were accurate, and he intervened and administered treatment.


Testimonial:


The herd manager stated the positive impact of the MACSO AI solution in providing oversight and monitoring the barns’ health. The sensors provide an extra set of “ears” for the team, giving the herd manager the oversight needed to ensure the pigs are healthy, even when some employees do not communicate well or are not available to deal with sick pigs.


"There was an instance where I asked my employees how their barn was doing, they said it was doing great. That same day I received a message from MACSO saying that there were coughs in that barn. I drove over to the barn to check it out and MACSO was spot on. These pigs happened to be sick enough that I needed to go in and inject medication to keep them alive."

Herd Manager

"It’s like you have a manager that’s keeping track of all the individual barns’ health and making sure that each employee is doing their job correctly."

Herd Manager


Conclusion:


The MACSO AI 24/7 audio sensors provide a valuable solution for swine producers facing the challenges of labor shortage, skilled labor and herd health management. The system gives you a “24/7 Herdsman” and with its consistent and objective reporting helps producers make informed decisions about their herd health management.

The around-the-clock monitoring and earlier detection of respiratory issues help farmers pinpoint the problem area, save on treatment costs, prevent higher mortality rates and ensure the health of their herd.


About MACSO


A New Zealand company whose global mission is giving Artificial Intelligence the ability to replicate human senses. Our first application uses A.I. and audio sensors to detect respiratory events and illnesses in animals earlier, providing for faster treatment and recovery.

MACSO’s advanced artificial intelligence platform enables our customers to have trained eyes, ears and other sensors wherever and whenever they need them.

We provide easy-to-install, highly accurate solutions for farmers to monitor the health of their animals 24/7.



[i] https://academic.oup.com/tas/article/4/2/462/5841627 [ii] https://www2.econ.iastate.edu/estimated-returns/ [iii] https://www.thepigsite.com/articles/assessment-of-the-economic-impact-of-prrsv-on-united-states-pork-producers [iv] Actinobacillus pleuropneumonia (APP) | The Pig Site [v] Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (APP) | Iowa State University (iastate.edu)

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