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UK Research Consortium Explores Use of Analytics to Help Pork Producers Improve Swine Herd Wellness and Production Efficiency

Zoetis to Lead $3 Million Project Funded by Agri-Tech Catalyst Award from Innovate UK, the UK’s Innovation Agency


A consortium of academic and animal health industry partners in the UK, led by Zoetis Inc., is embarking on a pioneering 42-month project that will develop visual imaging methods and digital technologies to help producers improve the health and wellness of pig herds and enhance production efficiency.  The $3 million (USD) project, announced today, is funded by an Agri-Tech Catalyst Award from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.  The partners will develop these advanced technologies to analyse pig behaviour and performance, looking for early warning signs of disease or stress and pave the way to treatment and care sooner than has previously been possible. 

“This work has the potential to hasten the advent of precision farming in pork production and is a strong example of Zoetis’ commitment to innovative services and technologies for our customers,” said Michelle L. Haven, a veterinarian and Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, Alliances, and Solutions at Zoetis. “We have assembled leading UK-based partners with a complementary mix of capabilities needed to uncover new insights for veterinarians and pork producers to enhance animal wellness, bolster production efficiency, and improve profitability and competitiveness.” 

Zoetis brings to the project core capabilities in supporting livestock customers with animal health and productivity, including delivering comprehensive swine health solutions and digital products from its Center for Digital Innovation, as well as expertise in analytics and mobile technologies.

This is matched by the world-leading expertise of the Newcastle University team who bring deep expertise in both animal and veterinary science, and digital technologies.

“We believe a combination of video imaging and data mining technologies can serve as a cornerstone to continuous improvement in animal welfare and sustainable farming,” said Ilias Kyriazakis, Professor, Animal Health and Nutrition, School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Newcastle University.  “Armed with these data, veterinarians, animal scientists and producers can focus more on preventive medicine and health strategies to capture production efficiencies, making the most of finite resources.  We envision this project serving as a catalyst for innovation in the pig farming industry both in the UK and the broader European community.”

The development of the automated system will build upon the QScan video imaging system from Aberdeenshire-based Scottish company Innovent Technology Limited.  QScan is currently being used in the UK, Europe, USA, Canada, Brazil and China to monitor weight gain of pigs.  Innovent Director Willie Thomson, said: “The QScan system provides producers with real-time growth information about their animals.  Through this research we explore how this versatile system can be extended as an analytic tool to help enhance pig wellness and performance.”  Innovent is closely associated to Harbro, a UK performance leader in nutrition, who is also contributing expertise to the project. 

One of the UK’s leading specialized veterinary consultancies, RAFT Solutions Ltd, headquartered in Yorkshire, England, will strengthen the project team with their focus on research in sustainable food production through their network of commercial client trial farms and capabilities in training and coaching livestock producers. Food Futures Director, Nigel Woolfenden, said: “We see this project as a prime opportunity to demonstrate the sustainability and profitability outcomes that can be achieved when on-farm data enables preventive healthcare and wellness initiatives.  We are looking forward to working with the group in this project.”

According to Alejandro Bernal, Executive Vice President at Zoetis and President, Europe, Africa and Middle East region, this project is a prime example of effective public-private alliances in animal health research. “By combining resources and sharing expertise, we can speed advances in animal health and support livestock veterinarians and producers as they strive to limit disease and increase productivity in their animals to supply increasing global demand for high quality meat. We at Zoetis are honoured to be a partner in this project.”

About Zoetis

Zoetis (zô-EH-tis) is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2013, the company generated annual revenue of $4.6 billion. With approximately 9,800 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2014, Zoetis has a local presence in approximately 70 countries, including 27 manufacturing facilities in 10 countries. Its products serve veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals in 120 countries. For more information, visit

About Newcastle University

Newcastle University is a Russell Group University ranked in the top 1% of Universities in the world (QS World University Rankings, 2014) and 22nd in the Sunday Times 2015 Good University Guide.

Amongst its peers, Newcastle is joint 6th in the UK for student satisfaction, ranked 8th in the UK for Medical research power, and is an Engineering and Physical Research Council (EPSRC) top 20 strategic partner. It has a world-class reputation for research excellence and are spearheading three major societal challenges that have a significant impact on global security. These themes are: Ageing, Sustainability, and Social Renewal. Its international students put Newcastle University in the world’s top 50 (ISE 2014) of global universities.

About RAFT Solutions Ltd.

Founded in 2010, RAFT Solutions Ltd is owned by 2 of the UK’s leading livestock veterinary practices, Bishopton Veterinary Group and Synergy Farm Health. Through its network of UK and European universities, research institutions and innovative private companies RAFT employs its 48 vets in research, advanced breeding, consultancy and training to deliver sustainable food production solutions for the commercial farmer. For more information, please visit

About Innovent Technology Ltd.

Innovent Technology is an innovative Scottish company focused on the development of unique management tools aimed at improving the performance and profitability of the livestock sector. Their sophisticated video imaging technology Qscan, which remotely monitors pig growth and variation, provides detailed analysis of growth pattern as well as growth rate and allows a unique insight into the spread of growth within batches of pigs. Results are viewed over the internet allowing constant monitoring whatever the customers’ location. Their Qboxanalysis system harnesses electronic slaughter data from multiple abattoirs to provide in-depth analysis of output and performance for all livestock systems. The system is strongly focused on improving the profitability of both the producer and processor by targeting the production of a higher output of quality meat. Kling-on Blue is a revolutionary, patented, gel footbath for cattle and sheep. Kling-on Blue binds to the hoof ensuring the active ingredients provide long acting protection against infection. Kling-on Blue is available to large veterinary groups and animal health distributors.

About Harbro Ltd.

Harbro Limited, Scotland’s leading independent feed manufacturer trades throughout the UK, selling innovative, performance livestock feeds for beef, dairy, sheep, pig and poultry. The company has capacity to manufacture 270,000 tonnes of feed from sites at Turriff, Mintlaw, Inverness and Birkhill, South Lanarkshire.

Harbro Limited is a member of the Harbro Group Limited.  Other companies in the Group include mobile feed processors, Feedmix Limited, Transpan (Scotland) Limited transport company, block and bucket manufacturers, Strathclyde Nutrition and the quarry and asbestos disposal company, Savoch Quarry & Recycling Limited.


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