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CAB Reviews

A reviews journal covering agriculture, global health, nutrition, natural resources and veterinary science

CAB Review

Precision livestock farming: automatic lameness detection in intensive livestock systems.


Lameness is a major production disease affecting animal welfare and profitability. Although lameness is a prevalent condition in livestock production systems, its identification can be unreliable due to lack of individual animal observation for gait and posture abnormalities and standard evaluation criteria. To prevent financial losses and welfare problems, early and accurate lameness detection and treatment are essential. Visual scoring is the most common method to evaluate lameness, which is time and labor involved and is prone to observer error. Therefore, automated lameness detection methods that do not rely on the human eyes and are not subjective may offer a more accurate lameness identification method. Application of engineering techniques in livestock farming to monitor, model, and manage animal production is called precision livestock farming (PLF). Using PLF, a large amount of data can be collected in short period of time, which can improve lameness prediction accuracy. This review paper will (a) explain engineering advances in PLF; (b) describe lameness and visual and automatic lameness detection; and (c) discuss sensors applied in PLF research.

CAB Review details