The Agricultural Technology Research Program (ATRP) has approved 17 projects for FY 2016. Research activities began July 1 and will run through June 30, 2016. The projects are divided into two categories: full-scale research projects that address critical issues facing poultry production and exploratory projects that seek to develop concepts and ideas for later transition into full-scale research projects. Researchers are tackling a number of industry challenges ranging from reducing water usage and environmental impact to improving product safety and enhancing labor efficiency through automation and process improvements.
“We are proud to continue our quest to lead in the area of innovative agricultural technology research and development,” says Dr. Doug Britton, ATRP program manager. “Our research teams are not only investigating novel approaches to solving some of the industry’s environmental sustainability and food safety challenges but are also developing low-cost robotic systems that have potential to transform the future of poultry production.”
Ice-Water Slurry for Enhanced Anti-Microbial Activity
Researchers are characterizing ice-water slurry and process settings that may be particularly effective at enhancing thermal efficiencies while reducing the presence of pathogens in poultry chillers.
Leveraging Animal Behavior for Robot Planning
Researchers are evaluating the behaviors and interactions of poultry flocks to the operation of aerial and ground robots in a growout house environment. The goal is to determine the feasibility of using robots to perform broiler and breeder rearing and management tasks.
Novel Separation Technologies for Poultry Processing Liquid Streams
Researchers are developing dynamic filtration techniques to more selectively capture target impurities from poultry processing liquid streams in a way that facilitates the recovery of value-added byproducts while still meeting or exceeding water reuse guidelines.
Applications of Magnetic Nanoparticles in Poultry Processing
Researchers are investigating the use of magnetic nanoparticles to remove and recover phosphate from poultry processing wastewater. They are also studying their use as part of a preconcentration system to capture and hold pathogens/bacteria in fluid samples.
Robotic Sensing and Grasping
Researchers are focusing on the development of better imaging and sensing technologies as well as improved and more dexterous grippers and manipulators for robotics. Applications for these technologies include pick-and-place poultry processing tasks like loading birds on deboning cone lines.
Audio Processing for Animal Wellness and Well-Being Assessment
Researchers are developing a growout house monitoring system that analyzes bird vocalizations to determine whether they are under stress due to environmental conditions, disease, or other stressors.
Poultry System Simulation Model
Researchers are generating a systems-based model of water usage in a typical poultry processing plant with the goal of defining areas to potentially improve water quality or reduce water use.
Intelligent Cutting 2.0
Researchers are designing an intelligent cutting and deboning system that uses 3D imaging and a robotic cutting arm to automatically perform precision cuts that optimize yield while eliminating the risk of bone fragments in finished poultry products.
Removal of Free Fatty Acids from Rendered Oil
Researchers are exploring the use of magnetic nanoparticles to remove free fatty acids from rendering plant oils.
Drinking Water Disinfection in Poultry Production
Researchers are studying the link between poultry growout house water disinfection and growth velocity in broilers.
On-Farm Harvesting, Stunning, Slaughtering, Loading, and Unloading
Researchers are evaluating the suitability and economic feasibility of using new technologies for on-farm bird harvesting and related tasks.
Correlations with Broiler Processing Characteristics and Genetic Traits
Researchers are exploring the weight and physical measures of different genetic species of broilers in an effort to determine the most efficient processing machinery.
Multi-Function Sensory System for Smart Poultry Farming
Researchers are designing an ammonia general micro-sensor system that is targeted to measuring levels of ammonia in farm air with minimal interference from other sources.
Enhancing Predictive Modeling for Livestock Harvesting
Researchers are exploring the collection of 2D and 3D sensor data and live bird weights to determine whether correlations exist. In concept, the gathered data can then be used to develop a predictive model for more accurate weight approximations, which could help determine more exact harvesting targets.
Advanced Enrichment Reactor
Researchers are studying faster culture and better preconcentration methods to improve pathogen prevention and control in large-volume poultry processing samples.
Individual Bird Monitoring Technologies
Researchers are designing a prototype device for measuring individual bird bio-responses in order to assess the bird’s well-being during various live operations.
Alternative Disinfectants in Food Processing Waters
Researchers are developing a group of new antimicrobial compounds to reduce pathogens in food products and fluid processing streams.