Is artificial intelligence right for poultry production?

The promise of labor-saving, flawless decision-making, 24-hour-a-day monitoring, improved processing, predictive feed digestion and bird management is compelling to an industry struggling to hire experienced operatives, but all these promises come with catches.

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(Paul Fleet |
(Paul Fleet |

Poultry Tech Summit 2019 will start where last year’s left off: is artificial intelligence the right choice for poultry production? The promise of labor-saving, flawless decision-making, 24-hour-a-day monitoring, improved processing, predictive feed digestion and bird management is compelling to an industry struggling to hire experienced operatives. But all these promises come with catches; while expectations are high, the actual number of new commercially viable technologies has been limited.

Artificial intelligence can be defined so broadly that almost every tech startup in some way is using it. Artificial intelligence is defined as computer systems replicating human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making and translation between languages. At a simplistic level, predictive modeling such as that used in feed formulation might be considered to be a form of artificial intelligence, but the use of machine vision, neural networks and deep learning take us into areas where computers can surpass human capacities.

The latest artificial intelligence

The Poultry Tech Summit will feature Iamus and Tibot, the latest robotic startups to use artificial intelligence to interpret the data they collect as they roll through the poultry house, observing broilers or picking up layers' floor eggs. Agrowiz robots' focus is in the hatchery. Cargill is just one of several poultry producers to have developed acoustic systems that listen to poultry vocalizations, converting this into early warning systems for disease or discomfort.

Nowhere in the U.S. poultry industry are labor issues greater than in processing plants, with more and more integrators looking to automate and install robots into their plants. Georgia Tech researchers' focus at Poultry Tech Summit will be on robotic processing, using artificial intelligence to interpret the data, presenting multiple opportunities, including collecting data other than yield. Next-generation cameras with normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) can capture spectra of light that the human eye cannot see, opening the opportunity for real time in-line meat quality and food safety evaluation.

Speakers at Poultry Tech Summit will cover Calimero in-vitro models that predict digestibility and microflora changes related to nutrition, predictive models for counting coccidiosis (Advanced Animal Diagnostics), designing better vaccines (Poultry Diagnostic & Research Center) and understanding the role of genetics (U.S. Department of Agriculture). These breakthroughs are all underpinned by the artificial intelligence revolution. 

Is the devil in the data? Smart Data Science Solutions uses machine learning while Farm Cloud proposes to predict broiler performance through environment and feed sensors, processing yields during the grow-out. MTech Systems' approach is to be technologically agnostic; data is collected from live production through sensors, other devices or even manual input to provide insights in the form of dashboards for live production management or C-Suite decision making. What about Blockchain? Applifarm and Colabriq will debate the value of incorruptible on-line ledgers for traceability with data you can rely on.  

Will artificial intelligence replace managers, nutritionists, veterinarians and other poultry specialists? While undoubtedly disruptive, the use of artificial intelligence in other industries such as healthcare has shown itself to improve the quality of work being done, shifting away from repetitive tasks and creating new roles for people within the system rather than replacing them. While disruptive artificial intelligence will not yet create a poultry business without people, it will prepare the industry to make dramatic leaps in poultry performance, health and allow it to be flexible and adaptable to fickle consumer demands. Don’t miss it.

Companies mentioned in this article will be presenting at the Poultry Technical Summit 2019, to be held in November in Atlanta, Georgia.

Attend Poultry Tech Summit 2019

Join an exclusive international gathering of industry-changing innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs, technology experts, investors and leading poultry producers at the second Poultry Tech Summit on November 20-22, 2019. Attendees can expect the same groundbreaking innovation and insightful presentations that made the 2018 event well-attended, with deep dialogue on new prospective solutions and action-packed from industry professionals representing 21 countries. 

Make plans to attend and take a look at the future of the industry. Early bird registration is now open.

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