Special Issue "Information Technology Applied to Animal Management"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Animal System and Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Irenilza de Alencar Nääs
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Universidade Paulista, São Paulo, Brazi
Interests: Precision animal production and monitoring; modeling in livestock production; the use of artificial intelligence in livestock production and animal monitoring; engineering applied to animal production
Prof. Tami Brown-Brandl
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Nebraska - Lincoln, Lincoln, United States
Interests: Precision Animal Management; Prediction of individual animal susceptibility to heat stress; Calorimetry and animal energetics; Development of sensors and control systems; Forecasting feedlot cattle heat stress

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent technological developments have ensured that large data sets can be registered on movement, as well as social interactions, vocalizations, and physiological responses of individual or grouped animals. Such advancements allow for different ways of interpreting data and the use of non-classic logic to reduce uncertainties, besides presenting solutions for real-time recording and decision-making. The idea of the present Special Issue is to encourage progress towards the use of information technology in the animal management of farm and wild animals. The objectives are the development and application of smart sensors in livestock production, pets, or wild animals; the use of automation in animal management and monitoring; the use of simulation, optimization, and modelling in animal production and wild animals; decision support systems applied to livestock farming; computer vision and image processing; precision animal production; the use of the internet of things (IoT) and cloud computing in animal monitoring; development and applications of artificial intelligence (AI) in livestock management; and the use of data mining in animal production and management.

Prof. Irenilza de Alencar Nääs
Prof. Tami Brown-Brandl
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • 1. Smart sensors
  • 2. Multicriteria analysis
  • 3. Simulation, optimization, and modeling
  • 4. Decision support systems
  • 5. Computer vision and Image processing
  • 6. Precision animal production
  • 7. The Internet of Things and cloud computing
  • 8. Artificial intelligence
  • 9. Data mining
  • 10. Electronic health records.

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Use of Computer Records: A Tool to Increase Productivity in Dairy Herds
Animals 2020, 10(1), 111; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010111 - 10 Jan 2020
Abstract
The level of adoption of herd management information system veterinary automated management and production control program (VAMPP) Bovine and its impact on productivity of 912 specialized dairy systems with at least 5 years of information recorded was studied. Herds were classified as low [...] Read more.
The level of adoption of herd management information system veterinary automated management and production control program (VAMPP) Bovine and its impact on productivity of 912 specialized dairy systems with at least 5 years of information recorded was studied. Herds were classified as low (n = 389), medium (n = 343), or high (n = 180) adoption level on the basis of extent and consistency of record keeping for variables related to production, reproduction, and health. For each herd, within-year averages were obtained for six performance traits: age at first calving (AFC), days open (DO), daily milk yield (DMY), productive life (PL), incidence of clinical mastitis (MAST), and incidence of lameness (LAM). These variables were investigated with a generalized linear mixed model that included the fixed effects of the adoption level, follow-up year, and their interaction, adjusted by the fixed effects of herd size, agroecological zone, calendar period, breed group, and the random effects of variation between/within herds. A significant effect of the adoption level over all the variables was observed, except DMY and PL. The follow-up year was significant for all the variables except LAM. There were marked reductions for AFC and DO in the first 4 years of follow-up. AFC was higher and DO shorter in the low compared to medium and high level of adoption herds (p < 0.001). DMY showed a significant increasing trend (p < 0.001), regardless of the adoption level. There was higher MAST and LAM incidence in the higher adoption level (p < 0.05). The economic benefit was estimated through a stochastic simulation model using an approach based in partial budget analysis. For a herd with a medium level of adoption, the change in gross margin (GMMIS $USD) and marginal return rate (MRRMIS %) for the first 5 years of use of the system was estimated. Under these conditions, there was a GMMIS of $6890 and MRRMIS of 163%. Variation of ±10% in DMY and DO caused changes in the GMMIS of ±$1000 and ±$110, respectively, and in MRRMIS ±24% and ±4%, respectively. The trends suggest a positive influence of VAMPP in productive and reproductive traits during the first years of implementation, with less benefit for the low adoption levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information Technology Applied to Animal Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Application of In-Paddock Technologies to Monitor Individual Self-Fed Supplement Intake and Liveweight in Beef Cattle
Animals 2020, 10(1), 93; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010093 - 06 Jan 2020
Abstract
The aim of this study was to assess the ability of in-paddock technologies to capture individual variability of self-fed supplement intake (molasses-lick blocks, MLB), feeding behavior, and liveweight (LW) in grazing beef cattle. An electronic feeder (EF) and in-paddock walk-over-weighing system (WOW) were [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to assess the ability of in-paddock technologies to capture individual variability of self-fed supplement intake (molasses-lick blocks, MLB), feeding behavior, and liveweight (LW) in grazing beef cattle. An electronic feeder (EF) and in-paddock walk-over-weighing system (WOW) were installed to measure, daily and simultaneously, individual MLB intake and LW. Cattle grazed (pastures and oat crops) and were fed (lucerne and oaten hay) during a 220 day trial. Over the entire period, we were able to quantify a large variability in MLB intake between individuals (p < 0.01; ranging from 0 to 194 g/hd per day). Liveweight change (p < 0.05, R = 0.44) and feeding behaviour (e.g., feeding frequency and duration, p < 0.01; R2 > 0.86) were positively correlated with MLB intake over the entire period but these correlations seemed to be affected by the type of feed. The intake of MLB seems to be explained by the individual behaviour of animals rather than the entire group. The use of in-paddock technologies enabled remote measurement of variability in supplement intake and cattle growth. The ability to monitor LW and feeding behavior of individual animals in a group could allow automatic individualized feeding of grazing cattle (amount and type of supplement) and managing low-performing animals under grazing conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information Technology Applied to Animal Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Continuous Monitoring of Pigs in Fattening Using a Multi-Sensor System: Behavior Patterns
Animals 2020, 10(1), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010052 - 26 Dec 2019
Abstract
In this work, a complete fattening period (81 days) of a total of 30 Landrace pigs housed in two pens of a nucleus in Villatobas (Castilla-La Mancha, Spain) were supervised. The ear skin temperature of each animal was recorded every three minutes. The [...] Read more.
In this work, a complete fattening period (81 days) of a total of 30 Landrace pigs housed in two pens of a nucleus in Villatobas (Castilla-La Mancha, Spain) were supervised. The ear skin temperature of each animal was recorded every three minutes. The body weight, the date, the duration, and the amount of feed consumed per animal was monitored via an electronic feeding station. The objective was the identification of animals with different behaviors based on the integration of their thermal and intake patterns. The ear skin temperatures of the animals showed a negative relationship between the mean and the standard deviation (r = 0.83), distinguishing animals with different thermal patterns: individuals with high-temperature values show less thermal variability and vice versa. Feeding parameters showed differences in the feeding strategies of animals, identifying fast-eating animals with a high rate feed intake (60 g/min) and slow eaters (30 g/min). The correlation between the change in the rate of feed intake along with animal growth and feed efficiency reached a significant negative value (−0.57), indicating that animals that do not alter their rate of feed intake along breeding showed higher efficiencies. The difference in temperature of an animal with respect to the averaged group value has allowed us to identify animals with differentiated feeding patterns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information Technology Applied to Animal Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Young Broiler Feeding Kinematic Analysis as A Function of the Feed Type
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1149; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121149 - 15 Dec 2019
Abstract
Past publications describe the various impact of feeding behavior of broilers on productivity and physiology. However, very few publications have considered the impact of biomechanics associated with the feeding process in birds. The present study aims at comparing the kinematic variables of young [...] Read more.
Past publications describe the various impact of feeding behavior of broilers on productivity and physiology. However, very few publications have considered the impact of biomechanics associated with the feeding process in birds. The present study aims at comparing the kinematic variables of young broiler chicks (3–4 days old; 19 specimens) while feeding them with three different feed types, such as fine mash (F1), coarse mash (F2), and crumbled feed (F3). The feeding behavior of the birds was recorded using a high-speed camera. Frames sequences of each mandibulation were selected manually and classified according to the temporal order that occurred (first, second, third, or fourth, and further). The head displacement and the maximum beak gape were automatically calculated by image analysis. The results did not indicate strong correlations between birds’ weight, beak size (length and width), and the kinematic variables of feeding. The differences between the tested feed were found mostly in the first and second mandibulations, probably explained by the higher incidence of “catch-and-throw” movements in F3 (33%) and F1 (26%) than F2 (20%). The “catch-and-throw” movements in F1 (the smallest feed particle) mostly occurred in the first mandibulation, as in F3 (the largest feed particle) also occurred in the latest mandibulations. It might be suggested that the adoption of “catch-and-throw” in the latest mandibulations increases with larger particles. The kinematic variables in the latest mandibulations (from the third one on) seem to be similar for all feed types, which represent the swallowing phase. It might be inferred that the temporal sequence of the mandibulations should be essential to describe the kinematics of a feeding scene of broiler chickens, and the first and second mandibulations are potentially the key factors for the differences accounted by the diverse feed particle sizes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information Technology Applied to Animal Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Real-Time Monitoring of Self-Fed Supplement Intake, Feeding Behaviour, and Growth Rate as Affected by Forage Quantity and Quality of Rotationally Grazed Beef Cattle
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1129; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121129 - 12 Dec 2019
Abstract
Supplement intake and liveweight (LW) data were collected daily and remotely by digital in-paddock technologies (electronic feeder (EF) and walk-over-weighing scale (WOW)) to study the effect of forage quantity and quality on the intake of a self-fed supplement (molasses-lick blocks (MLB)), LW, liveweight [...] Read more.
Supplement intake and liveweight (LW) data were collected daily and remotely by digital in-paddock technologies (electronic feeder (EF) and walk-over-weighing scale (WOW)) to study the effect of forage quantity and quality on the intake of a self-fed supplement (molasses-lick blocks (MLB)), LW, liveweight change (LWC), and feeding behaviour of grazing beef cattle. Fifty-two crossbred weaners were rotationally grazed or fed for 254 days on different forages: sudangrass (SG), autumn pastures (P), winter pastures with concentrate (P+C), oat crops (OC), lucerne hay (LH), and oaten hay (OH). Forage quantity and quality were measured on the day of entry (high feed availability) and exit (low feed availability) stages of grazing or hay delivery. The intake of MLB was 111% higher (p < 0.05) at low compared to high feed availability, and this was also reflected in the feeding behaviour of animals (e.g., greater feeding frequency and rate). Moreover, there was a large temporal variability of daily MLB intake (Coefficient of variation (CV) = 146.41%). Supplementing MLB improved LWC only with SG, P, or OH (p < 0.05). The behaviour of animals around MLB reflects changes in feed quantity and quality and could be used to enhance cattle grazing and nutritional management in real time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information Technology Applied to Animal Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Climatic Conditions on the Lying Behavior of a Group of Primiparous Dairy Cows
Animals 2019, 9(11), 869; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110869 - 26 Oct 2019
Abstract
Currently, lying behavior can be assessed using continuous observations from sensors (e.g., accelerometers). The analysis of digital data deriving from accelerometers is an effective tool for studying livestock behaviors. Despite the large interest in the lying behavior of dairy cows, no reference was [...] Read more.
Currently, lying behavior can be assessed using continuous observations from sensors (e.g., accelerometers). The analysis of digital data deriving from accelerometers is an effective tool for studying livestock behaviors. Despite the large interest in the lying behavior of dairy cows, no reference was found in literature regarding the prediction of lying behavior as a function of the interaction of environmental parameters. The present study aimed to evaluate the influence of climatic conditions (temperature-humidity index, solar radiation, air velocity and rainfalls) on the lying behavior of a group of primiparous dairy cows, using data from accelerometers, and develop a prediction model to identify and predict the lying behavior of dairy cows as a function of the effects of environmental conditions. Results from the. GLM Procedure (SAS) showed that the model was highly significant (p < 0.001) and the r2 was 0.84. All of the effects in the model resulted in being highly significant (p < 0.001). This model, if validated properly, could be a valid early warning system to identify any deviation from the expected behavior, and to assess the effectiveness of thermal stress mitigation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Information Technology Applied to Animal Management)
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