Accurate pig weight estimation based on camera images: fiction or reality?

Source:  Bonafarm integráció
Author: Máté Ulrich, Bonafarm group
Release date: 2021.03.25.

A Hungarian high-tech company has been working on replacing traditional scales for years. After several years of development and one year of successful testing on a Bonafarm Group site, the service will be finally available.

Bonafarm case study

When it comes to the operation of farms, the weight of animals is an indispensable piece of information for both the performance and economic efficiency as well as for the daily tasks ahead. Despite its importance, pig farmers are hardly able to measure and follow the weight and weight increase of pigs for different reasons: investments, lack of time, and stress that animals are exposed to. The essence of the camera image-based measurement is that the system can overcome these difficulties and make the practice of porker weight measurement widely accessible.

The Hungarian start-up PigBrother has been developing its weight estimation service since 2017 offering a solution for a specific global problem: pig farms have difficulties providing up-to-date data about the weight of porkers, and, as such, lose slaughterhouse bonuses and may be classified as malus. The start-up participated in the innovation-centered NAK TechLab incubation program launched by the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture.

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How does it work?

The weight measurement system, which is based on optimized image recognition, operates continuously and fully automatically. Pigs do not notice anything, and, as such the measurement process becomes totally stress-free for the animals. The application of the system does not require significant investment yet, it provides effective support for pig fattening and meat processing. The system relies on machine learning to process data that are transferred from the hardware components installed in the stables. This enables pig farmers to keep track of the weight increase of pigs, and, what is more,, the system stores the weight of every animal, provides growth charts and notifications when intervention is needed.

The pilot project started in September 2019 at the Bonafarm site in Küngös with a pre-set goal to reach 94% of accuracy. In the course of four rotations the validation was carried out by manual weight measurement and the accuracy of PigBrother reached far beyond our expectations: the corresponding figure was 97,91% in total. In practice, it means that the weight of a 100 kg pig, for example, can be determined by AI with an accuracy of 1-2 kg. The weight estimation algorithm gets smarter day by day, the more measurement data it processes the more accurately it performs. Besides capturing data on the weight of pigs in the pens, the system can also provide statistics, standard deviation, average, daily average weight increase, minimum and maximum weight to support farmers to make data driven, more informed decisions.


Where pigs are monitored by cameras and their weight is estimated by software solutions.

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