DEVELOPMENT OF AN AUTOMATED SYSTEM FOR STRESSLESS WEIGHING OF IDENTIFIED ANIMALS
Keywords:precision animal husbandry, Internet of things, automatic weighing, radio frequency identification, simulation
Precision animal husbandry requires new solutions for process control and selective breeding. Through an interdisciplinary approach, an IoT platform was developed, consisting of hardware and software, which can be used by farmers to obtain data on the dynamics of changes in animal weight. In this case, weighing is carried out voluntarily, that is, the animal itself stands on the weighing platform, without causing stress for itself and other animals in the pen. The design of the weighing platform resembles a "telephone booth" with an open entrance and a hole for the head, from the side presented to the drinker. At the stage of design development, a statistical analysis of parts for deformation was carried out, which showed permissible distortion values of no more than 0.36 mm at the point of maximum load. Animal identification is carried out using ultra-high-frequency identification with a carrier frequency of 868 MHz. In the course of computer modeling and experimental research, the optimal angle of placement of the UHF RFID reading antenna was determined. As a result, the patch antenna is installed on a special bracket under the ceiling of the weighing platform at an angle of 380 relative to the pallet and 260 degrees at an angle to the side wall. The electronics unit was determined and an algorithm for controlling the operation of the weighing platform was developed. Data transfer to the server is carried out via LoRa and WiFi. Experimental tests were carried out on a dairy farm, in a pen with a livestock of 86 animals aged 10-12 months. The obtained data on the weight of each animal, the time and duration of the watering place support in making a decision on the quality of young cattle’sreplacements. As a result, the efficiency of the stress-free weighing system, the manufacturability of the proposed design and the efficiency of the developed software and hardware have been proven.