RMB200Million Contract on AI-based Pig Farming

Original article was published on Artificial Intelligence on Medium


RMB200Million Contract on AI-based Pig Farming

Yes, this is official.

The applications of AI is no longer limited to the high tech industries and the top tier cities. This year we have observed many new revolutionary ideas from places we least expected, say where our pork comes from.

JD Agriculture and Animal Farming, a subsidiary of JD.com, and Chengdu Yuanbaofeng Agricultural Development Group signed a cooperation contract for smart agriculture and digital agriculture projects with a total value of 206 million yuan. JD.com will provide Chengdu Yuanbaofeng Provide a full range of technical solutions. Using the intelligent farming solutions of the Shennong Brain, the Shennong Internet of Things and the Shennong System (SaaS) to help Chengdu Yuanbaofeng realize intelligent breeding and improve the level of digital management.

This is the first major event in the Internet industry after the official name change of “JD Finance” to “JD Digital Technology”. So far, following NetEase and Alibaba, Pig has once again become the darling of Internet companies. Why are pigs often favored by the Internet? Putting aside the phenomenon and looking at the essence, let us re-examine the pig breeding from the perspective of measuring the enterprise.

Instead of actually operating the farm, this JD project plans to conduct the “AI pig experiment” in the form of cooperation with livestock enterprises and institutions, hoping to provide solutions for the industry from the farming end, and use technology to drive the improvement of production efficiency.

According to the technical leader of Jingdong “AI Pig”, the solution is equipped with a 24-hour expert-level machine “veterinarian” for the breeding of live pigs, allowing farming inspection robots to replace inefficient and repeated manual labor. This means “7×24” constant monitoring of the conditions of the pigs using a suite of new technologies.

JD’s spokeperson said that artificial intelligence technology will be used to analyze the behavior of the herd, accurately capturing each pig’s individual behavior, body shape and trajectory of growth. Data will be collected about their voiceprint, body temperature curve, feeding curve, and immune systems. The goal is to identify early warnings of sickness that could spread from one pig to the entire herd that remains the biggest threat to yield. This way important measures such as disinfection, sterilization of staff and vehicle can be implemented at the earliest possible time to remedy the situations.

“In comparison with manual inspection, the application of breeding inspection robots is more cost-effective, accurate, and effective in addition to the low-cost and high-efficiency features, which effectively controls the spread of various diseases and reduces the impact of culling on enterprises. We are truly entering the era of “unmanned” pig farms.”

It is almost a certainty that you can apply AI to anything to improve decision making. Animal farming is no exception, with a tremendous room for imagination and innovations. The implication of this pioneer project goes way beyond pig farming because it begs the question for all industries to reevaluate the current way of doing business. If an industry is data-intensive, AI can really drive the optimal decisions in most aspect of the business. If an industry is not yet collecting a lot of data (like pig farming), there is even an opportunity to leapfrog from version 1.0 to 3.0 like how many developing countries in the world skipping land telephone and going straight into mobile internet like in the 2000’s.

Jackson Lam

Founder & Chief Editor at Chinapotion.com