New Animal Science Technology

Researchers from North Dakota State’s animal sciences department created a computer intelligence that predicts the color and marbling of pork meat.

Xin Sun, Jennifer Young and former doctoral student Jeng-Hung Liu published their findings on ScienceDirect with the help of David Newman from the University of Arkansas.

“The technology we are investigating is integrating computer vision system and automation technologies to detect and sort pork loin products under industrial environment,” Sun said.

Sun is certain that technology is the future of every industry and this does not exclude agriculture.

“With the world population’s fast-growing, we need to investigate and develop technologies that can help produce high-quality food with sustainability and efficiency,” Sun said.

The new system allows the producer to detect the different grades of pork loin products at a greater speed, which will improve the productivity and accuracy of packaging and processing. The producers can then take the information that they learned from the computer to track genetic lineage in the pigs in order to choose breeding hogs that offer better meat quality.

Sun believes that this technology will benefit the producer and consumer of the pork product.

“I think integrating different emerging technologies with traditional majors is becoming a trend in the future,” Sun said. “Our research team wants to support an experimental project that can give NDSU students some opportunities to learn or explore their interest in agricultural, food and technology areas.”

Sun said the technology they were working on involves fields such as agricultural engineering, animal science, meat science, robotic engineering, computer science and artificial intelligence. He encourages NDSU students that are involved in STEM areas to explore these types of hands-on experiences, particularly projects that work on targeting issues in the agricultural industries.

Sun is duplicating the system at NDSU for future students to learn from and improve on the model, as well as get new ideas for future products.

“(The) next step of this project is in a plant system evaluation, and we already have one pork plant (that) expressed their interested in this system. They are ready to let us implement and validate this system in their plant,” Sun said.

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