15AGRITECHCAT4: Development and validation of a system for automatic detection of lameness in sheep

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: School of Veterinary Medicine and Sci

Abstract

This project aims to address challenge of lameness in sheep, one of the biggest cause of poor health, welfare and economic loss on sheep farms in UK and globally. By developing innovative hardware (acclerometer ), integrated software and algorithms specifically suited for automated lameness detection in sheep we aim to reduce the lameness levels. Such system will be innnovative and will facilitate farmers to effectively manage lameness by providing an automated system for early detection. This will bring economic and welfare benefits across the food supply chain and creating new jobs in production of innovative hardware and software products.

Technical Summary

This project aims to address challenge of lameness in sheep, one of the biggest cause of poor health, welfare and economic loss on sheep farms in UK and globally. By developing innovative hardware (acclerometer), integrated software and algorithms specifically suited for automated lameness detection in sheep we aim to reduce the lameness levels. Such system will be innnovative and will facilitate farmers to effectively manage lameness by providing an automated system for early detection. This will bring economic and welfare benefits across the food supply chain and creating new jobs in production of innovative hardware and software products.

Planned Impact

Possible outcomes of this research include;
A) Development of algorithms to classify lameness in sheep and other behaviors
B) Validation of those algorithms with data, and quantify impact of lameness on various activities of sheep e.g lying , grazing

Main beneficiaries of the research and how will they benefit;
1. Farmers - through a system of automated early lameness detection , effective lameness control leading to significant economic savings and improved welfare
2. Businesses - Dunbia and Farm Wizard to have wider access to market by rendering the system and lameness alert services and by boosting the sale of existing platforms
3. The sheep industry and Dunbia - through improved sustainability, production and welfare by reducing lameness. It will allow farmers to follow recommendations and drive the national average of flock to <2% as recommended by the Farm Animal Welfare Council.
4. Veterinary surgeons and farm advisors - through being able to use this as a platform to implement advice
5. Consumers - through consuming a product associated with improved sheep welfare and with improved farming sustainability.
6. UK PLC - through improved efficiency of sheep farming and economic returns.
 
Description * We have developed novel algorithms that can correctly classify sheep behaviour and lameness. Our research work specifically looked into following elements doing series of studies:
* We started with the exploring the effect of different sampling rates (8, 16 and 32 Hz), position of sensors (ear or collar), window sizes (3s, 5s and 7s) for signal processing on accuracy of algorithms for sheep behaviour and also effect of energy consumption. From the magnitude of accelerometer and gyroscope eleven feature characteristics were extracted resulting in a total of 44 feature characteristics. More details of this study are in the journal of Royal society open science (Walton et al., 2018). We investigated classification of three activities 'lying', 'standing' and 'walking'. Our algorithms indicated high accuracy for classifying all activities. More importantly the study results also highlighted that above-mentioned elements impact accuracy and there are trade-offs (between these elements) one needs to consider for a real time monitoring solution
* Next series of studies looked at development of novel machine learning algorithms to classify sheep lameness specifically choice of algorithms and number of features. (Kaler et al., 2020).
* We then worked on the implementation of algorithms on the 'edge' and employing edge analytics for a classification of sheep behaviour and analysis. This is novel and first of its kind in precision livestock monitoring as all the 'thinking' is done on the device and it offer potential benefits from battery life perspective. (Vazquez et al., 2019)
Exploitation Route The approach we used have wider applicability to researchers and Industry working on precision livestock and digital technology, sports medicine etc.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description We have developed prototype for predicting sheep behaviour using technology and under discussion for licensing.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Electronics
Impact Types Economic

 
Description BBSRC Intelligent Sensing Workshop
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
 
Description Talk to veterinary practicitioners attended by 25 delgates
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Influenced training of practitioners or researchers
Impact Impact on delivering proactive services to sheep farmers in management of lameness
 
Description BBSRC
Amount £18,677 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 02/2019
 
Description BBSRC ISCF agri-seedling award
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2017 
End 02/2018
 
Description BBSRC Icase PhD Studentships
Amount £80,000 (GBP)
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2018 
End 09/2022
 
Description ESRC Impact Accelerator fund
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Economic and Social Research Council 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2017 
End 10/2018
 
Title Algorithm to detect sheep activity 
Description A random forest algorithm to detect sheep activity using sensor data 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact To be evaluated 
URL https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/full/10.1098/rsos.171442
 
Title Algorithm to detect sheep grazing 
Description Various algorithms that can detect sheep grazing behaviour using sensor data 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact To be evaluated 
URL https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6210268/
 
Description Collaboartion on algorithm development 
Organisation Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Joint discussion on approaches to algorithm development, sharing domain expertise, sharing of data and tools for this.
Collaborator Contribution Access to platforms for algorithm development.
Impact Multidisciplinary collaboration, data secientists, epidemiologist, engineers.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Collaboration for precision livestock technology 
Organisation Prognostix Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Utilised methodologies for data pre- processing and algorithm development on sensor data
Collaborator Contribution Assess to new data and technologies
Impact In progress will be update soon Multidisciplinary: Engineering and Computing
Start Year 2017
 
Description Partnership to predict lameness in cattle using sensor and non sensor data 
Organisation CRV
Country Netherlands 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Expertise input on analysis precision livestock data and training of PhD
Collaborator Contribution Assess to 'big data' on lameness in cattle with multiple variables and combination of sensor and non sensor
Impact Multidisciplinary
Start Year 2019
 
Title EL4L prototype 
Description A device with implement algorithms for sheep behaviour 
Type Of Technology New/Improved Technique/Technology 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact At the moment used within consortium and for demonstration purposes 
 
Title EL4L software 
Description The EL4L algorithms for behaviour detection if sheep 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2017 
Impact Used internally at the moment 
 
Description American Society of Animal Science - Invited talk 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Invited talk on Precision technology
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Article in Science and Technology Magazine 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Article Scitech Europe Quarterly Magazine (Page -234-235)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&edid=0e6f6...
 
Description BBSRC Innovation Hub Oxford Farming conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Showcased animal health as part of BBSRC Innovation Hub, gave demonstration of the prototype for sheep behaviour and lameness detection at the Oxford farming conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Interview for the BBC East Midlands TV 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The development of the prototype for sheep lameness behaviour was reported and filmed.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited talk to Sheep Health and Welfare Group 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Around 100 members of sheep Industry including Animal health development board, Retailers ,farmers and vets.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://beefandlamb.ahdb.org.uk/returns/health-and-welfare/sheep-health-and-welfare-group-shawg/
 
Description New Scientist 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact As part of Centre of Innovation for Livestock we were asked to demonstrate the sheep sensor at the New Scientist Live in London.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Press release in Vet Times 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact An article in Vet times
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.vettimes.co.uk/news/smart-tech-aims-to-identify-earliest-signs-of-lameness/
 
Description Report in Veterinary Record 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Article published by Veterinary Record.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/182/4/102.1
 
Description Talks at British Society of Animal Science 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Oral talks on precision livestock health and algorithms from sensor data and technology adoption in farmers by Jasmeet Kaler, Jorge Vazquez Diosdado, Eliana Lima
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description UK China Working Group Meeting and Business Partnering on Agritech Innovation - 21 Feb 2017 Beijing 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Discussion on UK- China agritech initiatives
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017