Startup Europe Smart Agrifood Summit
The 24th and 25th of September HOPU have been presented at the third edition of Startup Europe Smart Agrifood Summit, an industry-leading event for the creation of innovative ecosystems within the European agri-food sector.
1,450 professionals in the field of agriculture and livestock have visited Agrifood ’20, where they have taken knowledge about the technological innovations that are being developed to improve food safety and the efficiency of natural resources in food production. Due to the current circumstances of COVID-19, Agrifood Summit developed a virtual participation modality through which it has been possible to follow the presentations and events via streaming, as well as holding online networking meetings.
The participation of HOPU in AgriFood 2020 has been through the Porcinnova business accelerator. As a High-technology incubator, Porcinnova encourages startups to develop initiatives that generate Innovative Solutions based on technology and applying them in the Pig Sector. Porcinnova’s objective is to support the creation of new companies and accelerate startups and projects that aim to apply and transfer new technologies that provide solutions to specific challenges throughout the pig industry. Among those challenges, there are issues such as animal health, food safety, mechanization and digitization of farm plants, traceability of animals and products, or the management of waste such as gases or manure/slurry.
During the Smart Agrifood Summit, HOPU presented the details of the ‘Interoperable Pig Health Tracking FITPig’ project in the Elevator Pitch schedule, highlighting the unique value proposition of the IoT solution that we are developing. This pilot, created under the IOF2020 program with other relevant partners, allows the monitoring of air quality and vital signs of animals through standardized and replicable data.
The pig sector in our country (Spain) generates more than 300,000 direct jobs and more than 1 million indirect jobs, representing 1.4% of the national GDP and 14% of the Spanish industrial GDP. These figures and its expected growth in the coming years in view of world demand force the pig sector to introduce considerable improvements in productivity, leading to farms operated on a larger scale without losing efficiency. Alongside this need is social concern about animal welfare on large intensive farms. FITPig seeks to respond to both issues by preventing losses due to death and improving animal welfare. Our solution is based on the monitoring of pig farms, specifically of pregnant and lactating sows.
The integration of new technologies in the agro-food sector is already a reality in the most advanced animal and crop farms. The lack of innovation and the lack of modernisation of the countryside have been two of the main barriers to progress in rural entrepreneurship for decades. Now, more and more companies in the sector are modernising their facilities, using IoT devices that allow for the management and monitoring of the environment in real-time, which enables them to obtain precise data on the state of the product. These advances make it possible to economise on water use by providing each plant with just the water it needs, detecting anomalies in air quality such as temperature rises or CO saturation in the environment, etc.
Through IoT technologies, knowledge of AQi data in real-time and Artificial Intelligence and Business Intelligence algorithms we can go further in terms of data visualisation but also offer information that allows you to anticipate possible problems or setbacks that degrade product quality or mean losses for the farmer.
Through our experience in the Smart Cities monitoring sector and our Smart Spot device for air quality, we have designed an IoT sensor to record the health of the farm by measuring the gases that affect the health of livestock such as ammonia, CO2, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen sulphide, ozone and nitrogen dioxide in the environment, temperature and humidity. Good air quality is required to maintain the health and welfare of the animals and to provide a good working environment for staff. Air quality is characterised by the concentration of gases, dust and micro-organisms, the respiratory systems of pigs are directly exposed to the air and the air could have direct and indirect effects. The skin, eyes and respiratory tract are directly affected and irritated which favours indirect effects such as disease and poor development. Numerous studies in fattening pigs conclude that there is a relationship between high concentrations of NH3 and the development of the pigs. The most important gases are NH3, CO2, H2S and CO. Environmental control is one of the elements that allows the improvement of environmental quality, which has an impact on the good health of the pigs and an adequate conversion rate. For this reason, it is important to guarantee adequate conditions of temperature, humidity and gas concentrations.
On the other hand, for more direct control, FITPIG has designed an ear tag PPG sensor, an intelligent slope to monitor the vital signs of the cattle. Thanks to these two data sources, global monitoring is generated to control the health status and to predict dangerous situations for the health of pregnant women in farms. With this sensor we can know their heart rate and vital signs, we have real-time access to the environmental state of the farm, ensuring the welfare of the pigs, preventing possible infections and diseases, improving the probability of survival of piglets and adult pigs.
The FITPig project is part of the Internet of Food & Farm IOF2020 call for projects, which promotes a large-scale implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions in the European agricultural and food sector. It also aims to implement technologies that meet the needs of the entire value chain of the agri-food sector and especially of the end-users working in this type of business or factory, strengthening them for future challenges. A total of 35 million euros has been invested in this call to finance 33 projects from 22 European Union countries, including our proposal.
The use of FITPig is mainly targeted to farms with more than 30 breeding sows that need to reduce piglet deaths due to infections, sow crushing, lack of feed, allowing the farmer to increase the economic profitability of production. This project has enormous added value for the livestock sector, as monitoring serves to give the farmer greater control over production, reduce deaths through prediction, improve animal welfare and reduce the use of antibiotics. Its main innovative factor lies in the use of a sensor to monitor the heart rate of the pigs on the farm, which is unique in the market today, and the integration of all the data into one visualisation tool.
See the visualization links of the results here: