USA, Fayetteville. The University of Arkansas announced its in the final stages of constructing “the most technologically advanced” poultry science research facility available in the industry today. The state-of-the-art construction will allow smart-based research strategies, including computer vision and machine learning technology.
According to David Caldwell, director of the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science and head of the Department of Poultry Science in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, the $1 million project will be the most advanced research facility for conducting broiler research at the farm once complete.
"This facility will be equipped with the most technologically advanced, commercially relevant environmental control and rearing equipment available in the commercial industry today," he said.
The Poultry Science Smart Farming Research Facility will be located at the University’s Division of Agriculture's Milo J. Shult Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville.
Caldwell said the new facility would enhance capacity in a number of research focus areas, including broiler nutrition, management, welfare and environmental quality.
"The total dimensions will be 45 feet wide by 350 feet in length," he said. "The west end will be where large floor pens are equipped with commercially relevant rearing equipment. This side will also be equipped with cutting-edge sensor and data acquisition technology to allow for research projects to be conducted with a real-time, big data approach."
The other side will be utilised for broiler nutrition research, Caldwell said. "The east end of the facility will be a more standard 'mini-pen' research facility that will be very well suited for broiler nutrition and management research applications," Caldwell added that the facility will allow for more capacity for broiler welfare and environmental quality.
Michael Kidd, professor of poultry nutrition for the Experiment Station, the research arm of the Division of Agriculture, said the Smart Farming Research Facility's planned smart technology would allow researchers to conduct studies that address emerging industry needs.
"Computer vision and machine learning technologies are becoming realised tools in the poultry industry as well as our research programs, and this facility will help us execute smart-based research strategies that improve broiler breeder and broiler nutrition and welfare," said Kidd, who also holds the Adisseo Endowed Professorship in Global Sustainable Poultry Nutrition.
Private funding partners
Jean-François Meullenet, senior associate vice president for agriculture research and director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, said this sophisticated facility was made possible through a generous donation from Aviagen, equipment gifts from Reliable Poultry, Diversified Ag, MTech Systems and D&F Equipment, and matching funding from Tyson Foods, along with infrastructure funds from the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station.
"I am very thankful for the amazing private support we have received for the construction of this facility and have no doubt that it will propel our research forward and make our scientists more competitive for extramural funding," Meullenet said.
Source: University of Arkansas