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Use of visual image analysis for the management of pig growth in size and shape

  • R. P. White (a1), D. J. Parsons (a1), C. P. Schofield (a1), D. M. Green (a2) and C. T. Whittemore (a2)...

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The purpose of an integrated management system is to optimise both pig performance and environmental protection. A major impediment to this process has been the inability to measure and control the production process in real time, for specific and contemporary pig batches. Optimisation thus requires in-line measurement of pig growth performance, together with the means to change performance with adjustments to feed quantity and quality. This report deals with the use of visual image analysis (VIA) to provide the first of these; measurement of growth. VIA determines, continuously and in-line, the size and shape of the plan view of the pig as it stands at the feeder. Three seminal questions are here addressed. (i) can VIA be used to provide a reliable measure of pig weight, and (ii) how many days are required to elapse before a change in size can be reliably determined and how does the VIA system compare with daily weighing by a conventional weigh-scale, and (iii) can VIA sort pigs according to their shape?

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Schofield, C. P., Marchant, J. A., White, R. P., Brandl, N. and Wilson, M. 1999. Monitoring Pig Growth using a Prototype Imaging System. Journal of Agricultural Engineering Research 72: 205210.
Whittemore, C. T. and Schofield, C. P. 2000. A case for size and shape scaling for understanding nutrient use in breeding sows and growing pigs. Livestock Production Science 65: 203208.

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