BELGIUM, Brussels. The meat trial is one of the five trials within IoF2020. This trial aims to demonstrate how technology can help face the challenges the meat sector has been dealing with, such as animal welfare, foreign competition, climate impact and antibiotic resistance. It consists of early warning systems to increase animal health and reduce antibiotic use, as well as advanced monitoring systems which could provide farmers with feedback on their decisions and help to optimize animal growth and wellbeing.
Tracking data adds transparency and traceability to the production process. In this way, the meat trial will explore the advantages of IoT technologies for farmers and for the production chain as a whole.
The internet of things (IoT) has revolutionary potential. A smart web of sensors, actuators, cameras, robots, drones and other connected devices allows for an unprecedented level of control and automated decision-making. The project Internet of Food & Farm 2020 (IoF2020) explores the potential of IoT-technologies for the European food and farming industry.
The goal is ambitious: to make precision farming a reality and to take a vital step towards a more sustainable food value chain. With the help of IoT technologies higher yields and better quality produce are within reach. Pesticide and fertilizer use will drop and overall efficiency is optimized. IoT technologies also enable better traceability of food, leading to increased food safety.
IoF2020 is part of Horizon 2020 Industrial Leadership and supported by the European Commission with a budget of € 30 mill. The aim of IoF2020 is to build a lasting innovation ecosystem that fosters the uptake of IoT technologies. For this purpose key stakeholders along the food value chain are involved in IoF2020 together with technology service providers, software companies and academic research institutions.
In this use case, data of different farm systems, such as climate control, feeding and weighing systems, are being gathered from different manufacturers and are brought together in a central platform. This platform can be used by farm management, as well as the early warning dashboard, to incorporate the diverse requirements of the farmers. Also, health alerts for individual pigs are being validated at ILVO (The Flanders research institute for agriculture, fisheries and food).
For instance, alerts indicating less frequent visits of a particular pig to the feeder or drinking nipple can now be linked to the logbook of the farmer, which reported mobility difficulties or illness for that pig a few days later. This is the first promising indication that the technology could help the farmer to intervene much quicker in restoring the health of the pig are coming up.
Similar developments occur in the poultry sector. Here, a lot of focus is on the secure and smooth operation of the data transfer between the farm and the dashboard. In addition, our poultry use case also focusses on slaughterhouse- and transport optimisation. Improvement of the design, testing and feedback of the sensors in the transport trucks and the smart watches worn by the chicken loaders is ongoing.
The first results of the phase 1 environmental sensors showed that a protection box was needed for the truck sensors, the implementation of this extra protection shows good results. The phase 2 environmental sensors that were developed in the use case were launched at the IoT week in Bilbao. These sensors include temperature, humidity, luminosity, CO2, ammonia and accelerometers. The new design of the sensors has a significant size- and weight reduction, with a protection layer for transport trucks.
Mapping all the user requirements of the different partners in the value chain of pork meat production is regarded as the largest challenge. Currently, these requirements are being mapped into an overview for the EPCIS-based traceability and transparency solution. The main focus is to ensure a win-win situation for all actors in the chain, which will be shown and broadcasted through dedicated test cases. One of those first test cases is a traceability and transparency solution for a specialised meat chain that includes sensor data, detailed pig data, and auditing information.