May 21, 2024

Smart farms and precision technology: A new age for pork farming

Focus on Agriculture

Farmers take seriously their responsibility to meet the growing demand for healthy, high-quality food while also providing the best possible care for farm animals.

I’m stubborn about keeping my phone for as long as I can. My last one lasted four years until I got fed up with the dying battery.

I recently upgraded my phone with a newer model, and I didn’t realize how much the technology has improved.

My new phone can connect to my car’s hands-free navigation system, making my morning commute easier. The camera automatically filters photos to smooth out wrinkles — a cool feature, but also a little creepy.

Last night, the phone sent me a notification asking for permission to record my coughs and snores at night to monitor my sleep quality. Again, cool, but creepy.

While I’m catching up with the latest innovations, pig farmers have already embraced it. For example, scientists have created microphones to record pigs’ coughs and thermal cameras to measure body temperature.

This helps farmers promptly identify, treat and isolate potentially sick pigs, ensuring the herds’ health.

At home, the “Internet of Things” lets us manage the lights, heating and cooling, garage doors, kitchen appliances and cars with smartphone apps.

Modern livestock barns also run like smart homes. Precision livestock farming uses advanced innovations to care for farm animals.

For example, pig farmers use smart farm technology to control the lighting and temperature in the barns, automatically opening or closing ventilation curtains to adjust air circulation.

Farmers receive an alert on their phone if, say, in the middle of the night, the temperature in the barn isn’t optimal for the pigs.

Sensors also track how much the pigs eat and drink. If a pig stops eating, it could be an early sign that the animal isn’t feeling well and needs treatment.

Farmers take seriously their responsibility to meet the growing demand for healthy, high-quality food while also providing the best possible care for farm animals.

In the near future, we will have access to emerging innovations — such as augmented reality and blockchain traceability — offering consumers more transparency about their food’s journey from farm to plate.

With this dedication and innovation, we can trust that the food we buy for our families is safe, nutritious and sustainably grown.

Teresa Bjork

Teresa Bjork is consumer content manager at Iowa Farm Bureau. This column was originally published on the Iowa Farm Bureau Farm Fresh blog.