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Swine Translational Symposium recap by Kaitlyn Sommer, Graduate Research Assistant, University of Illinois – Urbana, Champaign

The swine translational symposium started out with a presentation from Jonathon Hoek from SummitSmarFarms, speaking on "Equipping Humans--Optimizing Performance: The Role of Technology in Human Capital". In order to optimize performance with technology you need to have C-suite alignment’s, smart team, visibility, and smart margins.

Dr. Caleb Shull from The Maschoff’s spoke about "Utilizing Cameras to Predict Estrus and Ovulation" of sow’s. Dr. Shull found that there is an association between sow body temperature and timing of the estrus and ovulation cycle, but it is inconclusive. Currently The Maschoff’s are working alongside the University of Illinois, Sivanthan Laboratories and Episensors for predicting the timing of estrus and/or ovulation. Overall, there is still more information that is needed, but if this is successful then it will make the job easier and more enjoyable, along with providing a compelling and noticeable value proposition.

Dr. Karl Kerns from Iowa State University, presented “Opening the Black Box of Fertility Prediction”. Dr. Kerns spoke on his research and found that the first reported zinc ion fluxed from spermiogenesis through post-capacitation of higher order mammals. They also found that IVS-induced zinc signature changes can be a potential good indicator of fertility, along with zinc management potentially being useful for future semen developments.

Aidan Connolly CEO of Cainthus. Aidan Connolly spoke about “Unlocking the Potential Through Digital Data Collection”. He started with what would better pig production, things such as individual production, husbandry and welfare, disease management, food safety, and food processing.  This can start to be accomplish by eight different technologies that are disruptive, such as 3-D printers, robots, drones, sensors, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality and blockchain. These eight technologies rely on IOT or internet of things to work. These technologies are where Aidan Connolly believes the pork industry is going.

The last speaker of the day is Dr. Brett Ramirez, from Iowa State University spoke on what a connected barn is and how the industry can utilize it. He spoke about how a connected barn utilizes technology inside the barn, along with the advantages, disadvantages, what is possible and how to overcome these different issues in connected barns. Connected barns today can work with the climate of the barns, performance and health, facility and equipment, and other things such as controllers. While the four key issues in barns are the accuracy, signal conditioning, environment, and placement/location. The future of connected barns is supplementing the other data streams, assessing, and continuing to improve these technologies.

The recorded symposium will be available after the meeting on the meeting website.