Breeding and Genetics Symposium II: Challenges and Opportunities with Big Data in Animal Breeding
The advent of fully automated data recording technologies and high-throughput phenotyping (HTP) systems has opened up a myriad of opportunities to advance breeding programs and livestock husbandry. Such technologies allow scoring large number of animals for novel phenotypes and indicator traits to boost genetic improvement, as well as for real-time monitoring of animal behavior and development for optimized management decisions. HTP tools include, for example, image analysis and computer vision, sensor technology for motion, sound and chemical composition, and spectroscopy. Applications span from health surveillance, precision nutrition, and control of meat and milk composition and quality. However, the application of HTP requires sophisticated statistical and computational approaches for efficient data management and appropriate data mining, as it involves large datasets with many covariates and complex relationships. In this talk we will discuss some of the challenges and potentials of HTP in livestock. Some examples to be presented include the utilization of automated feeders to record feed intake and to monitor feeding behavior in broilers, milk-spectra information to predict dairy cattle feed intake, and image analysis and computer vision to monitor growth and body condition in pigs and cattle. HTP and big data will become an essential component of modern livestock operations in the context of precision animal agriculture, boosting animal welfare, environmental footprint, and overall sustainability of animal production.