UFL/IFAS to use artificial intelligence to assess livestock mobility

In cattle and swine, scientists are more interested in asymmetry and postures that indicate pain for abnormal function in one or more limbs.


Source: University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

via Beef Magazine - Jun 20, 2022


University of Florida scientists want to assess livestock mobility faster and more accurately, ultimately helping farm animal health and production. To do so, they'll use artificial intelligence to analyze high-definition video of the animals as they move.


Samantha Brooks, a University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences geneticist and associate professor of equine physiology along with other UF researchers have been awarded a $49,713 grant from the Agricultural Genome to Phenome Initiative for this research.


The team will combine machine learning with gait analyses to speed their assessment of livestock mobility. Brooks cites an example of how this technology can help: In horses, one veterinarian can do a basic lameness exam in about 15 minutes.


"Our long-term goal is to build an automated pipeline that could produce results nearly in real-time, just seconds after the animal passes by the camera," Brooks says. "This pilot project is a first step toward that goal."


Brooks and her colleagues work primarily with horses because they're an excellent model for locomotion and because scientists can gather a lot of data quickly.


She and her lab already are working with about 2,000 video clips of horses in motion. Brooks credits the hard work of graduate student Madelyn Smythe and the generosity of hundreds of central Florida horse owners for the video.


"The large library of video will enable construction of accurate models to track the animals' movement in the video frame," Brooks says. "Although we've started with the horse, what we learn here will translate to similar models for other four-legged farm animals."


For this project, they'll also build AI models to analyze video of cattle, swine and small ruminants...