Smart farms will feed chickens, battle bird flu

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Smart farms will feed chickens, battle bird flu


Researchers from LG Innotek and the National Institute of Animal Science analyze data on chickens while monitoring them with cameras to develop artificial intelligence-powered smart poultry farms. [LG INNOTEK]

Korea’s avian influenza problem may soon meet its match, as smart farms that can feed chickens and detect bird flu are on their way.

LG Innotek, LG’s electrical components affiliate, announced Tuesday that it will develop farms equipped with artificial intelligence together with the National Institute of Animal Science. These smart farms are expected to maximize their poultry production and identify the spread of infectious avian diseases, all without human supervision.

The LG affiliate and the institute signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday for the joint project. The National Institute of Animal Science, controlled by the Rural Development Administration, is a government body that promotes technological solutions that advance livestock production.

One of the farms’ key features is automatic analysis of birds’ physical condition using cameras and sensors. The farms can determine the appropriate time to replenish birds with water and feed, and they can also sense changes in the weather and adjust temperatures and humidity levels to maintain an optimal environment for the poultry.

The cameras and sensors will also be able to identify the birds’ physical maturity to estimate when they will be available for consumption. The institute will analyze poultry behavior at different stages of maturity to accumulate big data that will be incorporated into the smart farm technology.

Besides increasing production, AI smart farms are expected to be able to identify chickens with avian influenza to prevent large-scale damage.

When the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain of avian influenza broke out in November 2016 in Korea, 33.1 million birds were slaughtered across 821 farms over three months. The poultry industry is estimated to have suffered 1 trillion won ($929 million) in damage.

If a chicken or duck is detected as carrying a contagious disease on a smart farm, they will be quickly located and removed before they can infect other poultry. Towards this end, LG Innotek will develop a deep-learning algorithm that will identify symptoms of infected birds using temperature and humidity sensors.

“It is our goal to make our lives safer and more convenient through innovative technology,” said Kwon Il-geun, chief technology officer at LG Innotek.

LG Innotek hopes to be able to apply smart technology to poultry farms by 2020.
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