New tool helps monitor pig welfare during transport

Mr Nelson notes that in the EU, trucks are now being developed which are fully environmentally controlled, but they are very, very expensive. “However, there are millions of transport vehicles around the world that could be upgraded to monitor conditions and if the monitoring connects through an IoT (Internet of Things) device to climate control devices (misters, fans, baffles to guide wind, etc.), the system could control environmental conditions as well,” he explains. “Working with my business partner Joel Sotomayor and his brilliant young team, it became clear that there are technologies available that can be used to not only to monitor and send alerts, but also to utilise IoT devices to control environment conditions.”

The result is Transport Genie (TG), an innovative sensor that enables livestock transport managers and drivers to make better decisions in relation to trailer environmental conditions, set up automated systems to adjust conditions when they approach a threshold) and to track data over time. TG sensors currently monitor humidity and temperature, but could in future also track things like CO2 level and acceleration/braking. 

Mr Sotomayor notes that the technology can be used for all livestock species, “but we suspect that there will be slight differences because the animals themselves are different. That is also another reason why we want to partner with researchers to make sure that we have the right amount of sensors available in the trailer. We suspect that larger animals may require more sensors because we will need them to create a ‘mesh network’ to transfer the data properly.” Mr Sotomayor says he and his team will wait for more data and then finalise their sensor design.

Research using the system is also being done to track temperature and humidity in barns and in pastures and on the effect of heat in beef cattle.

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