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Livestock welfare assessment helps monitor animal health status to maintain productivity, identify injuries and stress, and avoid deterioration. It has also become an important marketing strategy since it increases consumer pressure for a more humane transformation in animal treatment. Common visual welfare practices by professionals and veterinarians may be subjective and cost-prohibitive, requiring trained personnel. Recent advances in remote sensing, computer vision, and artificial intelligence (AI) have helped developing new and emerging technologies for livestock biometrics to extract key physiological parameters associated with animal welfare. This review discusses the livestock farming digital transformation by describing (i) biometric techniques for health and welfare assessment, (ii) livestock identification for traceability and (iii) machine and deep learning application in livestock to address complex problems. This review also includes a critical assessment of these topics and research done so far, proposing future steps for the deployment of AI models in commercial farms. Most studies focused on model development without applications or deployment for the industry. Furthermore, reported biometric methods, accuracy, and machine learning approaches presented some inconsistencies that hinder validation. Therefore, it is required to develop more efficient, non-contact and reliable methods based on AI to assess livestock health, welfare, and productivity.
This study investigated the effects of different strategies for feeding supplements to grazing dairy cows on the proportions of fatty acids in milk. Two hundred and sixteen cows were fed supplementary grain and forage according to one of 3 different strategies; (1) Control: cows grazed perennial ryegrass pasture (14 kg dry matter/d) supplemented with milled barley grain fed in the milking parlour and pasture silage offered in the paddock; (2) Partial mixed ration 1 (PMR1): same pasture allotment and supplement as Control strategy, but the supplements presented as a mixed ration after each milking in feedpad, and; (3) Partial mixed ration 2 (PMR2): same pasture allotment, supplemented with a mixed ration of milled barley grain, alfalfa hay, corn silage and crushed corn grain fed in a feedpad. Within each strategy, cows were assigned to receive either 6, 8, 10 or 12 kg dry matter supplement/cow per d. Milk fatty acid proportions from cows fed Control and PMR1 strategies were similar and different from those fed PMR2, particularly at 10 to 12 kg dry matter supplement/cow per d. The reduction in milk fat yield and concentration in cows fed high amounts of supplement as Control and PMR1 was coincident with 4 × increase in 10t-18:1 proportion. The composition of the partial mixed ration (PMR) and the amount offered affected milk fatty acid proportions and milk fat content, however, the method of supplementation did not.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of a synbiotic containing Lactobacillus acidophilus ATCC 4962, fructooligosaccharide, inulin and mannitol on plasma lipid profiles and erythrocyte membrane properties in hypercholesterolaemic pigs on high- and low-fat diets. Twenty-four white male Landrace pigs were randomly allocated to four treatment groups for 8 weeks (n 6). Treatment factors were the supplementation of synbiotic (with and without) and dietary fat (5 and 15 %). The supplementation of synbiotic reduced plasma total cholesterol (P = 0·001), TAG (P = 0·002) and LDL-cholesterol (P = 0·045) for both dietary fats. A higher concentration of esterified-cholesterol in HDL of pigs supplemented with synbiotic than the control regardless of dietary fat (P = 0·036) indicated that cholesterol was reduced in the form of cholesteryl esters. Reduced concentration of cholesteryl esters (P < 0·001) and increased concentration of TAG (P = 0·042) in LDL of pigs on synbiotic suggested that LDL-cholesterol was reduced via the hydrolysis of smaller and denser LDL particles. The erythrocytes of pigs without any synbiotic showed more prevalence of spur cells than those given the synbiotic, as supported by the higher cholesterol: phospholipid ratio in erythrocytes (P = 0·001). Also, membrane fluidity and rigidity were improved as supported by the decreased fluorescence anisotropies in the Hb-free erythrocyte membrane of pigs given synbiotic (P < 0·001). The administration of the synbiotic reduced plasma TAG, total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol in hypercholesterolaemic pigs, possibly in the form of cholesteryl esters, via the interrelated pathways of lipid transporters (VLDL, LDL and HDL). The synbiotic also reduced deformation of erythrocytes via improved membrane fluidity and permeability.
The aim of this study was to determine whether dietary supplementation with branched-chain amino acids, and the infusion of insulin and dextrose, would increase milk protein secretion in the sow. The experiment involved sixteen lactating sows fed either a normal lactation diet (162 g/kg crude protein, n 8) or a high-protein diet (230 g/kg crude protein, n 8) supplemented with branched-chain amino acids (valine, isoleucine and leucine). Sows were either infused with insulin and dextrose or not infused at all during mid (day 5–10) and late (day 17–22) lactation in a single reversal design. Blood samples were analysed for glucose, and the dextrose infusion rate was adjusted to maintain the blood glucose level within 15 % of pre-infusion levels. Milk (10·1 v. 11·1 kg/d; P=0·014) and\ lactose (628 v. 727 g/d; P=0·002) yield increased with insulin infusion, whereas milk protein content (5·0 % v. 5·5 %; P=0·007) was increased in diets supplemented with protein and branched-chain amino acids. Piglet growth was increased by feeding the higher-protein diet (237 v. 273 g/d; P=0·05) but not significantly increased by insulin infusion (245 v. 265 g/d; P=0·11). These effects were additive such that the combined treatment resulted in a 24 % (56 g/d; P<0·05) increase in piglet growth rate. These data demonstrate that increasing the dietary protein/branched-chain amino acid content can increase milk protein secretion but not milk yield. The infusion of insulin and dextrose increased milk and milk lactose yields, and tended to increase milk protein yield but not milk protein content. These effects are additive and translate to increased protein yield and piglet growth.
Although garlic and onions have long been associated with putative cardiovascular health benefits, the effects of different commercially available onions and level of intake have not been studied. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the potential health benefits of raw onions using the pig as a biomedical model. Twenty-five female (Large White×Landrace) pigs were used in a (2×2)+1 factorial experiment. Pigs were fed a standard grower diet supplemented with 100 g tallow/kg with the addition of Allium cepa var. cavalier or var. destiny at 0, 10 or 25 g/MJ digestible energy for 6 weeks. Overall, the consumption of onions resulted in significant reductions in plasma triacylglycerol; however, the reductions were most pronounced in pigs fed destiny onions (−26 %, P=0·042). Total plasma cholesterol and LDL:HDL ratios were not significantly different. Onion supplementation, regardless of the variety, resulted in dose-dependent reductions in erythrocyte counts and Hb levels, while the white blood cell concentrations, particularly lymphocytes, were increased in pigs that consumed onions. Furthermore, indices of blood clotting were largely unaffected by onion consumption. In conclusion, dietary supplementation with raw brown onions has moderate lipid-modulating and immunostimulatory properties. However, daily onion intake >25 g/MJ digestible energy could be detrimental to erythrocyte numbers.
Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) have been shown to decrease body fat content in pigs. It is possible that feeding pigs diets rich in CLA may increase carcass lipid CLA to levels that could provide health benefits when included as a part of a healthy diet. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to determine whether dietary CLA supplementation has any effect on the fatty acid composition of subcutaneous and intramuscular adipose tissue in pigs. Thirty-five female cross bred (Large White×Landrace) pigs (initial weight 57·2kg and initial P2 back fat 11·5mm) were used in the present study. Pigs were housed individually and randomly allocated to one of six dietary treatments (0·00, 1·25, 2·50, 5·00, 7·50 and 10·00g CLA55 (55g CLA isomers/100g total fatty acids; Natural Lipids Ltd, Hovdebygda, Norway)/kg) and fed their respective diets for 8 weeks. Twelve CLA isomers in the diet and in pig tissue lipids were separated by Ag+-HPLC. CLA was incorporated at fivefold higher levels in subcutaneous fat as compared with intramuscular fat and in a dose-dependant manner. Overall, the transfer efficiency of CLA was maximized at 5·00g CLA55/kg. However, there was clear selectivity in the uptake or incorporation of cis,trans-9,11 isomer over the trans,cis-10,12 isomer. In general, CLA supplementation produced significant changes in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue fatty acid composition, indicating that dietary CLA had a potent affect on lipid transport and metabolism in vivo. Significant increases in myristic, palmitic and palmitoleic acids and a reduction in arachidonic acid were observed, suggesting an alteration in activity of Δ5-, Δ6- and Δ9-desaturases in pig adipose tissue. In conclusion, feeding pigs diets supplemented with CLA increases carcass lipid CLA, but also results in changes in the fatty acid profile in pig fat that could potentially outweigh the benefits of CLA.
The growth rate of the young pig is generally much less than its potential and may be constrained by endocrine status as well as nutrient intake. The aim of the present study was to determine whether porcine (p) somatotropin (ST) treatment of the sucking pig could alter subsequent body composition. Twelve mixed-parity cross-bred sows with an average litter size of ten piglets were used to nurse pigs for the present study. On day 1 of lactation, the median two male pigs (by weight) from each litter were randomly allocated to one of two doses of pST (0 or 1 mg/kg per d) until weaning on day 21. Pigs were weaned and offered feed ad libitum until slaughter at 134 d of age. Body composition was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at 21, 49, 77, 105 and 133 d of age. There was no significant difference in growth rates between day 1 and 21 of lactation in pigs injected with either saline (9 g/l NaCl/l) or pST (258 v. 246 g/d for control and pST-treated pigs respectively, P=0·61), and as a consequence there was no significant difference in liveweight at weaning (7·13 v. 6·84 kg, P=0·59). However, fat mass at weaning tended to be decreased (1·18 v. 0·96 kg, P=0·064), while the % fat in the body at weaning was significantly (16·7 v. 13·9 %, P=0·008) decreased by exogenous pST treatment. In the immediate post-weaning period there was a reduction in lean tissue deposition (347 v. 300 g/d, P=0·021) but no effect on fat deposition (35 v. 33 g/d, P=0·72). Over the entire weaning-to-slaughter period, pST treatment of neonatal pigs decreased the rate of fat deposition (130 v. 112 g/d, P=0·033), but had no effect on lean tissue deposition (550 v. 538 g/d, P=0·49). Therefore, treatment of nursing pigs with high doses of pST for a short period before weaning may provide a means of reducing the fat content of pork and pork products.
Thirty female Large White × Landrace pigs (average weight 57·2 (SD 1·9) kg) were allocated to one of six dietary treatments containing 0, 1·25, 2·5, 5·0, 7·5 or 10·0 g 55 % conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) isomers (CLA-55)/kg diet and fed for 8 weeks. Each pig was scanned at 0, 28 and 56 d and again at post slaughter using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to determine the temporal pattern of body composition responses. Values determined by DXA were adjusted using regression equations generated from validation experiments between chemically and DXA-predicted values. Overall, there was a significant linear reduction in fat content with the increasing levels of CLA in the diet (P=0·007, P=0·011, P=0·008 at week 4, week 8 and for the carcass, respectively). The greatest improvement was recorded at the early stages of CLA supplementation and for the highest dose of CLA (week 4, −19·2 % compared with week 8, −13·7 %). In the first 4 weeks of feeding CLA, pigs receiving 10 g CLA-55/kg diet deposited 93 g less fat/d than pigs fed basal diets (P=0·002) compared with only 6 g less fat than control animals in the final 4 weeks. Lean content and lean deposition rate were maximised at 5 and 2·5 g CLA-55/kg diet for the first 4 weeks (P=0·016) and the final 4 weeks of treatment (P=0·17), respectively. DXA estimates of bone mineral content and bone mineral density were not affected by CLA supplementation throughout the experiment. These data demonstrate that dietary CLA decreases body fat in a dose-dependent manner and that the response is greatest over the initial 4 weeks of treatment.
Exogenous insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I has been shown to increase growth rate in neonatal pigs while an analogue of IGF-I, long arginine (LR3) IGF-I, has been shown to be more potent than IGF-I in the rat. Therefore, two studies were conducted to determine whether IGF-I and LR3IGF-I increase growth in the artificially-reared neonatal pig. Expt 1 involved forty-two (2 kg initial weight) pigs infused with either control, IGF-I (2, 4 or 8 μg/h) or LR3IGF-I (2, 4 or 8 μg/h) infusions for 8 d. Pigs were weighed and then offered 1·7 MJ (gross energy) milk replacer/kg0·75 per d. Expt 2 involved eighteen pigs (2 kg initial weight) treated with control saline, IGF-I (8 μg/h) or LR3IGF-I (8 μg/h) infusions. After 9 d an additional pump was inserted to increase the infusion rates of each of the growth factors (16 μg/h) for a further 9 d. Cows' milk was provided ad libitum. In Expt 1 there was no overall effect of growth factors on daily weight gain or slaughter weight. However, milk intake was greater in pigs infused with growth factors (909 v. 867 g/d, P=0·027), with an apparently greater milk intake by the pigs infused with IGF-I compared with LR3IGF-I (920 v. 898 g/d, P=0·12). Infusion of LR3IGF-I decreased plasma IGF-I concentrations, but had no effect on plasma IGF-II concentrations. In Expt 2, neither IGF-I nor LR3IGF-I infusion had any effect upon daily weight gain over the first 9 d of the study. However, over the second 9 d of the study, daily weight gain was increased in LR3IGF-I-infused pigs (457 v. 386 g/d, P<0·01), but not in pigs infused with IGF-I (413 v. 386 g/d, P=0·15). Milk intake was not different during the first 9 d of the study but was significantly greater in pigs infused with growth factors over the second half of the study (3407 v. 2905 g/d, P<0·01). Plasma IGF-binding protein-3 concentrations were highly correlated (R=0·85) with average daily gain over the 3 d preceding blood sampling. In conclusion, exogenous IGF-I and particularly LR3IGF-I can increase growth rate and milk intake in artificially-reared pigs fed ad libitum but not in limit-fed piglets.
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