Newton Prize 2019

Smart farming to feed the world

The world’s population is growing and global demand for meat and animal products is set to increase 40 percent over the next decade. China is the second largest poultry producer in the world, but a lack of space for new agricultural land, climate change, disease outbreaks and other challenges all threaten global food supply.

An innovative and user-friendly ‘internet of things’ platform developed by this team of UK-China researchers could significantly improve and increase productivity of livestock farming for more sustainable food production. Drawing from a wide range of expertise, the team has developed an affordable device that can be worn by farmers to monitor animal welfare and the barn environment.

Using artificial intelligence, the device monitors environmental factors such as temperature, noise and air pollution so farmers can quickly detect problems and prevent losses. Some farmers involved in the trials have already seen a reduction in feed cost and mortality in their poultry farms as a result of the technology.

The platform is capable of capturing large quantities of data which farmers, industry and governments can use to identify the source of pollution and disease outbreaks and plan preventative measures in ‘at risk’ areas. Healthier, happier hens will also lead to better quality meat that is free from disease, protecting public health and improving nutrition.

Through the project, thirty new jobs have already been created and ten young researchers and more than thirty farmers have been trained in smart farming technologies. Training allows Chinese smallholders to compete against larger operations, improving their livelihoods. Having built strong partnerships, the team is now planning to develop the technology and extend its impact to neighbouring developing countries and other meat markets.

We strongly believe that our solution could have a huge impact on the future of livestock farming, delivering socio-economic and environmental benefits as well as being vital for long term natural resource sustainability.

Dr Yue Gao, Farm AI project lead, Queen Mary’s University of London’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science

 

View transcript

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Caption: UK-CHINA Research and Innovation Partnership Fund world class research and innovation partnership
Newton Prize (logo)
Newton Fund (logo)

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Caption: LIVEQuest: A self-contained wearable Internet-of-Things System for Precision Livestock Agriculture
Dr Yue Gao, Queen Mary University of London and Professor Zhixun Xie, Guangxi Veterinary Research Institute, China

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In a chicken farm, thousands of chickens are eating the feed in neat rows of tiered cages.
In neat rows of modernized cages, hundreds of chickens stick their heads out to eat the feed with functioning exhaust fan in the background.

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Speaker (Prof Zhixun Xie):
In the future decade, the production and consumption of animal products will increase by over 40%.
But producing quality poultry product could face many challenges.
For example, outbreak of infectious diseases, increasing cultivation cost and better welfare for animals.
In the past 2 years, together with the research team of Queen Mary University of London,
We have developed the LIVEQuest system.
This system can automatically monitor the harmful factors in henhouses,
Such as temperature anomaly, ammonia and carbon dioxide content.
The system can provide us a real-time monitoring and management platform,
So we can take measures in time to reduce the negative effect of harmful factors on poultry.
Our test has proved that by adopting LIVEquest system, we can reduce the cost and death rate of poultry farms by 5%.
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Professor Zhixun XIE is speaking in front of the camera in a classroom. Caption: rofessor Zhixun Xie, Guangxi Veterinary Research Institute, China
A researcher is pouring feed into the chicken feeder troughs of neat rows of cages;
Two eggs in the cage with moving chicken feet in the back.
The chicken waterer is dripping;
A rooster raises it head to drink water;
Two researchers put the feed into the chicken feeder trough;
Professor Zhixun XIE is speaking in front of the camera in a classroom;
Professor Zhixun XIE put the feed into the chicken feeder trough along the cages;
Professor Zhixun XIE takes an egg out of the chicken cage;
Professor Zhixun XIE stacks layers of eggs and walk towards the camera;

Professor Zhixun Xie takes the phone out of the pocket;
Professor Zhixun XIE swipes open the phone and monitors the chicken house environment;
His finger swipes the screen for information.
Professor Zhixun XIE is speaking in front of the camera in a classroom.

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Speaker (Prof Zhixun Xie): The system can provide basis for accurate prevention and control measures for enterprises and government.
We hope to conduct more China-UK cooperation with Newton funding.
So we can promote our outcome in ASEAN and the Belt and Road countries,
Extending our benefit economically and ecologically and creating a better future for both animal and mankind.
We hope human and animals can live in harmony.
Animals will enjoy a better welfare while human have better and safer animal products.
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Professor Zhixun Xie is lecturing and pointing at the screen with laser pointer;
Students from different countries are listening and nodding;
Professor Zhixun Xie is speaking towards students;
Students from different countries sit in front of the table and listen to Professor Zhixun Xie in front of the projected screen.
Students from different countries and Professor Zhixun Xie applaud.
Students from different countries are applauding and smiling.
Professor Zhixun Xie shakes hands with a foreign student. They take a photo holding a blue certificate of “Department of International Cooperation of Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China”
Professor Zhixun Xie is speaking in front of the camera with a poster in the background.

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The Newton Fund is devoted to achieving the
UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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Global Goals for Sustainable Development Logos of the Global Goals for Sustainable Development

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Presented by
Logo of UK Science & Innovation Network
Logo of Newton Fund
Logo of British Embassy Beijing

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Caption:
Executive Producer
Zhan Zhang
Directed,Filmed,Edited by Manman Yang
Second Cameraman
Wei Wang
Produced by Believing is Seeing Studio Guangzhou

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Caption:
Special thanks
UK Research and Innovation China
British Council
British Consulate General Guangzhou
Guangxi Veterinary Research Institute

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Caption:
Newton Fund Delivery Partners
UK
Academy of Medical Sciences
British Academy
British Council
Met Office
Royal Academy of Engineering
Royal Society
UK Research and Innovation
Newton Fund Delivery Partners
CHINA
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences
Chinese Academy of Engineering
Chinese Meteorological Administration
Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences
Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences
Ministry of Education
Ministry of Science and Technology
National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC)

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Newton Prize Logo
© 2019 Newton Fund. All Rights Reserved

 

 

LIVEQuest: A self-contained wearable internet-of-things system for precision livestock agriculture

Project leads: Dr Yue Gao, Queen Mary University of London, UK and Professor Zhixun Xie, Guangxi Veterinary Research Institute, China

Delivery partners: Innovate UK, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, all part of UK Research and Innovation, and Ministry of Science and Technology, China

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