Value-added applications of environmental monitoring to animal husbandry in Taiwan

Cows in a field.
Nomura Research Institute of Taiwan provides a wide range of support for business promotion in Taiwan and business expansion in Asia by providing consulting and solution proposals from a group of experts well versed in Taiwanese and Japanese corporate cultures.

In response to people’s concern over environmental quality, the Taiwanese Government has initiated the ‘Civil IoT Taiwan’ project, and entrusted the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) to develop its capacity in producing a Made in Taiwan (MIT) air monitoring sensor, which has been manufactured by Taiwanese company, such as Vision, Green Ideas and ProBai.

This has led to the extensive deployment of air quality sensors, which allows digitization and transparency of real-time air quality conditions. Furthermore, air quality within a range of livestock activities has received increasing attention by the public, as well as those in industrial areas and main roads. In the atmosphere, trace pollutants, including suspended particles, nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides, may endanger the health of human beings through breathing or attaching to biological surfaces; therefore, reducing pollutant emissions has become one of the crucial development key points by various countries. In recent years, with the improvement of people’s living standards, the demand for meat products has also increased, and the health of livestock will directly affect farmers’ profits.

In addition, the odour and air pollution derived from raising livestock will also result in dissatisfaction among the people in the surrounding area. To improve the air quality in stock farms and enhance management efficiency, it has also become an important issue of investment and major concern for farmers in recent years.

In Pingtung County, Taiwan, where thousands of stock farms can be found, the local environmental protection bureau has deployed 400 air quality micro sensors across the county along with micro sensors for monitoring hydrogen sulphide and ammonia surrounding stock farms since 2019 to improve the air quality in the County. The Environmental Protection Bureau of Pingtung County indicated that the application of these sensing data enables environmental governance in innovative approaches and improves long-criticised livestock odours and plant emissions in the County, meanwhile curbing pollutions in conjunction with technological enforcement. The number of animal husbandry odour complaints decreases by 42% compared with the previous year, per 2021 statistics, and it is expected to institutionalise environmental management in the future by increasing the deployment of micro sensors in the hotspots surrounding the stock farms.

With in-depth involvement in air quality solutions, as well as participation in the Civil IoT Taiwan project, ProBai Solution from Taiwan provides sensors made in Taiwan for monitoring regardless of occasions and including township micro-weather stations, real-time monitoring of air quality in industrial areas, forecasting of air quality in traffic areas, and agricultural and ecological greenhouse monitoring. With technical advantages in AI, IoT and cloud platforms, ProBai Solution assists local governments and research units to maintain air quality and observe suspicious pollution sources in potential hotspots.

Concerning the IoT solution for pig houses, ProBai Solution allows one to grasp a series of biological data of pigs from their birth, feeding, movement to slaughter through intelligent management, disease prevention and slaughterhouse management. Among the procedure, RFID tags are engaged to track and record the physical condition of pigs; on the other hand, through the detection of local environment and climate changes, livestock management can be performed properly to prevent pigs from illness, during which air quality micro sensors may come in handy. Micro sensors may become the warning bases reminding farmers to clean the environment or take relevant measures. They can report the status of the pasture in real time through remote monitoring, and allow diseases diagnoses in conjunction with AI technology. Lastly, during the journey to the slaughterhouse, the pigs’ health status can also be continuously tracked via RFID to determine whether the pigs are diseased and might affect the quality of pork in the future.

The overall solution for pig houses powered by ProBai Solution and the maturity in air quality monitoring in Taiwan are expected to be engaged to assist more farmers and management units in overseas regions in the future as an effective management guideline. ProBai Solution and Netherland IoT solution providers are currently exploring possibilities to leverage the management effectiveness of animal husbandry through the Taiwan-Netherlands collaboration, meanwhile taking real-time monitoring of pigs’ condition including living environment, weather changes, excrement etc. with constantly optimised monitoring and analysis models, real-time monitoring of pig conditions, and taking necessary actions including cleaning, ventilation improvement, and food adjustment, to enable quality meat production and help improve the environment of the stock farms.

The Taiwanese Government promotes the Civil IoT Taiwan project with expectations to analyse the emission hotspots of pollution sources through the data collected via the broadly deployed micro air sensors, as well as to collect and compare data from suspicious operators to facilitate smart law enforcement. In its promotion, Taiwan’s domestic air quality sensing technology, as well as data analysis and forecasting capabilities have been further strengthened. At present, tens of thousands of sensing points have been deployed across Taiwan.

Meanwhile, through the domestic field verification, open and transparent data, and the joint participation of industry and academia, the air quality sensing industry in Taiwan may be complemented, and subsequent data analysis applications are the keys to innovation and value additions in the future. It is hoped that through the strength of Taiwan’s excellent providers in software and hardware, more innovative applications will be realized whilst life quality of residents may be safeguarded.

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