The applications of smart technology for agriculture, fishery and livestock industry would be one of the keys to technology improvement and transformation for the industry. As the smart technologies widely applied to different areas in our society, Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) promoted “Applications of Smart Technology to Agricultural Production” Project Plan for levering up the power of domestic research and development in this new field. The project started at applied research to accumulate novel knowledge and advanced technology, and moved on to integrated application for benefiting the whole domestic industry. The research team of the Department of Animal Science and Technology at National Taiwan University (NTU) led by Professor Shih-Torng Ding, Dean of Academic Affairs, with colleague specialized in animal nutrition, microbiology, production management and waste processing/utilization to work on precise nutrition and microbiological products to reduce manuare and odor production in the operation, real time monitoring the status inside the pig house as well as animal health, and effective waste processing and energy use to development an overall program for environment and animal friendly.
The government values and promotes domestic pig production, but has to take good care of the impact on our environment and quality of life for people and animals due to their operation. The odor molecules from pig manure are mainly volatile sulfide, phenols, indoles, volatile fatty acids and amides. Also, highly concentrated granular pollutants and gas pollutants such as carbon dioxide and ammonia are produced during intensive pig operation. Pig farms have been complained by neighbors for their waste water and odor, especially in the high temperature and humid weather, limited arable land and water resources, and high residential density in Taiwan. Thus, the environmental protection bureau set strict standards for pig farms. Such weather conditions in Taiwan is a major challenge for pig growth and health. Pig farmers always need to carefully observe respiratory and digestive diseases. Those diseases have close relationship with nutrition, pathogens, temperature/humidity in animal house, and air quality.
To resolve this dilemma during pig production, the research team has been supported by MOST to work on different aspects mentioned above toward the practical needs of the pig industry and based on their long-term research foundation. The team organized research items for different stages of pig production to increase the management and production efficiency for pig operation by revolutionary technology in agriculture and livestock industry. The research team utilizes different smart technologies with precise nutrition diet and additive, probiotics for promoting health, waste water processing, raising environment monitoring and management, big data analysis to solve an important issue: reduction of waste and odor, as well as maintain pig production efficiency and animal health.
For effective reduction of odor materials in pig manure, this project utilizes essential oils as additive, protein content reduced in diet, and exogenous enzyme added into high fiber diet to regulate precise nutrition with in-vivo and in-vitro evaluation systems. The team also developed precise microbial agents applied to pig production for improving growth performance, reducing manure odor and harmful flora, increasing pork quality, and levering up the profit margin of pig production. A smart waste processing and biogas desulphurizing facility was built to make waste and biogas processing operation automatically, intelligently and precisely under remote control and monitoring to save manpower and cost. The published article has showed promising results in smart-farming system (Water 2020 June). A set of sensor and image systems has been implemented to monitor reduction of odor and animal health with data analyses. It integrates these smart facilities with operation conditions on farm, precise nutrition and microbial agent programs to build up the optimal model for the pig farm.
Shih-Torng Ding, Ph.D.
Professor Shih-Torng Ding is Dean of Academic Affairs, National Taiwan University
Prof. Shih-Torng Ding, Ph.D.
Dean of Academic Affairs, National Taiwan University
Professor in Department of Animal Science and Technology, National Taiwan University