Research to use artificial intelligence to identify sick livestock

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  • New research project uses artificial intelligence methods and behavioural analytics to provide insights into animal health
  • The research and commercial feasibility program, co-funded by Innovate UK
  • The project aims to provide a new cost-effective solution for farmers and vets to identify illness in livestock

The welfare of livestock could be improved thanks to a new research project that will use novel artificial intelligence methods combined with behavioural analytics to provide rapid and reliable insights to animal health for farmers across the UK.  The research and commercial feasibility program, co-funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, will be led by the Quant Foundry (QF) in collaboration with the University of Bristol Vet School and Agri-EPI Centre.

The team headed by Dr Chris Cormack at QF will run a feasibility study with Professor Andrew Dowsey and animal welfare experts, Dr Siobhan Mullan, Dr Suzanne Held and Professor Michael Mendl at the University of Bristol and Agri-EPI Centre at its South West Dairy Development Centre in Somerset.

The project aims to provide a new cost-effective solution for farmers and vets to identify illness in livestock providing not only cost savings but also a means to reduce the impact of farming on the environment. 

Dr Chris Cormack, Managing Director at the Quant Foundry (www.quantfoundry.com), said: “In conjunction with our research partners, Bristol Veterinary School and Agri-EPI, the study of behavioural analytics in animals will open up a new era in artificial intelligence driven solutions for farmers. We have great hopes that not only can we help farmers provide improved care for their livestock but also help reduce their economic costs and their environmental impact.”

Professor Andrew Dowsey, Chair in Population Health Data Science at Bristol Veterinary School  (www.bristol.ac.uk/vet-school)and a specialist in data solutions for health and agriculture, added: “This collaboration is a fantastic opportunity to translate cutting-edge artificial intelligence approaches to build upon the UK’s high standards in cattle welfare and support farmers in our targets for net-zero emissions.”

Duncan Forbes, Agri-EPI centre’s Head of Dairy said: “Agri-EPI’s South West Dairy Development Centre is dedicated to the development and evaluation of exciting emerging technologies such as this and we’re looking forward to working with Quant Foundry and Bristol Vet School.”

Throughout the project the collaborative team will be actively seeking partners to help them commercialise and build capability as the project matures, this can range from direct investment or from interested companies looking to complement their existing activities in this upcoming area.

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