Lighting technology pioneer Greengage has said that it is working with BQP (British Quality Pigs) – part of Pilgrim’s Pride /Tulip Group – on a commercial trial in lighting and sensor technology to improve pig performance and enhance animal welfare.
The Edinburgh-based company is moving into the pig sector where data surrounding pig performance using intelligent lighting is limited, trialling acoustics in a finishing shed using its ‘Grunty’ sensor. The sensor will eventually be coupled with the lighting system to automatically adjust the lights once an aggression event is predicted or occurring.
Greengage is working on developing algorithms that will differentiate between ‘happy’ or normal sounds within a shed and aggression. This data will be analysed and then fed back to the grower via a smartphone app, real time.
Overall performance of the pigs under Greengage lighting is being assessed, comparing feed conversion, mortality and days to finish.
Light intensity and colour spectrums are being studied to manage tail biting within the sheds; they can be changed to calm the animals when a ‘spike’ is reported via a cloud-based app.
Matt Kealey, Greengage sales and marketing director, said that early indications are showing that a change in light spectrum or intensity does have a calming effect on the pigs.
Mr Kealey explained: “Tail biting can lead to up to appreciable mortality in a finishing shed. This is an industry-wide issue with a huge financial and animal welfare impact at a time when there is increasing pressure from audit bodies and consumers to cease tail docking. A number of factors contribute to the issue including genetics, feed and environment, yet lighting does not appear to have been looked at on a commercial scale.”