During this week’s EuroTier in Hannover, Germany, a proprietary barn technology from Boehringer Ingelheim was recognized for its higher animal welfare standards. SoundTalks received the Animal Welfare Award, an additional recognition to the product receiving a EuroTier Innovation Gold Award.
A system that continuously analyzes the respiratory health status of pigs during weaning and finishing, SoundTalks' monitors are equipped with six microphones, to register all noises in the pen and to distinguish coughing noises from other noises with the aid of an algorithm. Since the system records 24 hours a day, it is also able to register the intensity of coughing during the resting phase, unlike the producer, and can therefore detect coughing up to five days earlier.
In an interview with Feedstuffs Editor Sarah Muirhead Wednesday, Susan Schryver, head of production animal at Boehringer Ingelheim, pointed out that human observation can be highly subjective and does leave room for error, whereas SoundTalks can identify coughing concerns objectively and in real time.
An independent expert jury appointed by the DLG (German Agricultural Society) said the product “impressively shows how digital technologies are able to support farmers in their daily work in the sty, in the sense of animal welfare and animal health. It meets the requirements of a higher standard of animal welfare, especially the positive promotion of animal health, to a particularly high degree.”
In October, Boehringer Ingelheim launched the technology to the U.S. swine market. In addition to animal welfare and labor-saving benefits, SoundTalks ensures access to objective and continuous respiratory health data and helps producers capture proven ROI through early intervention and increased pig performance. Recent research has shown that early detection of respiratory disease with SoundTalks can lead to increased average daily gain, decreases in individual treatments and an ROI of 4.27 with a range of 2.5-7.9.
"SoundTalks offers an extra set of ears in the barn to not only achieve early detection of respiratory disease, but also automatically send real-time health alerts to key team members, allowing for faster and more effective treatment," said Jens Kjaer, DVM, senior associate director of Integrated Health Management for Swine at Boehringer Ingelheim.
D. Polson, C. Alonso. Economic assessment of a sound-based precision livestock farming tool (SoundTalks) based on timing of intervention after a dual Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae and PRRS virus seeder challenge in pigs. Allen D. Leman Swine Conf. 2022
C. Alonso, A. Ghysen, S.J. Figueras, et al. Using SoundTalks real time respiratory health status monitoring to improve grow-finish production performance. ESPHM 2022
A. Spronk, D. Polson, S. Playter. Field application of cough monitor technology: A swine practitioner's perspective.