Validation of asset based lending by grazing cattle using AI
A joint project team in Japan have started field testing for Asset-Based Lending (ABL) applicability at Kuroshima Sakura Farm in Kuroshima island, Okinawa prefecture, which is known for the world-famous "Wagyu" cattle industry. The ABL approach employs cattle behavior monitoring system "PETER" developed by the project team aimed for labor-saving grazing management using edge-AI and LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) technologies. PETER, a remote state-estimation system on the edge, is expected to contribute to appropriate and efficient operation of ABL.
The project has conducted by Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech), Shinshu University, Information Services International-Dentsu, Ltd. (ISID), Farmnote Inc., TechnoPro Inc. & TechnoPro Design Company, and Sony Group Corporation under the supervision of Tokyo Tech's Center of Innovation (COI) Research Center for the Earth Inclusive Sensing Empathizing with Silent Voices (EISESiV), cooperating with the Kagoshima Bank,LTD. Field tests will be completed by conducted through March 2022. The outcome of the field tests is expected to pave the way for a more sustainable livestock industry.
Background of the field tests
Recently, cows are recognized as a movable property which can be used for ABL. This recognition is expected to improve management in livestock industry. On the other hand, when cows are in grazing field, it takes long time or huge labor cost to confirm the number of cows and conditions of cows. The joint project team has been working on cattle monitoring operations at low-cost with attention for improving animal welfare.
Since April 2019, the team conducted several field tests in the Shinshu University farm. They developed collar type edge-devices for cows in grazing field and executed technology verification of cattle behavior estimation regarding complicated information concerning cattle postures and behaviors (eating, drinking water, prone posture, standing and walking positions, ruminating etc.). As a result, the team has developed cow state-estimation system "PETER" composed of collar type edge-device and cloud system.
The project team has attempted a field test in the Kuroshima Sakura Farm to apply the developed PETER system to ABL. Cooperating with the Kagoshima Bank who has been active in livestock ABL and Kuroshima Sakura Farm who is focusing on beef cattle farming in grazing field, the team will verify efficiency and applicability of PETER to ABL for cows in grazing. The functions of PETER will be reviewed for both side of ABL operations for banks and pasture management for livestock farms.
Objectives of the field tests
Ten different PETER edge-device are to be attached on ten different cows' necks in Kuroshima Sakura farm. The location data and classified cow-behavior data will be captured by PETER edge-device, and to be sent to PETER cloud with LPWA technology. In addition, the environmental data at Kuroshima Sakura Farm are gathered and sent to PETER cloud. The combination of these data can be observed by users with PETER application, which monitors cattle in the grazing field. The team will extract effective data items for bank's ABL operation, then verify the way of providing data to bank from PETER cloud. The team pursuits effective cooperation between bank and livestock farm and promote livestock ABL in cattle industry through this trial using PETER for ABL.
Features of cattle management system "PETER"
"PETER" is a complete management system for cattle groups in grazing field, developed by the project team. "PETER" edge-devices attached to individual cows can not only acquire the location information of each cow but also estimate their behaviors such as walking, eating, ruminating and prone posture by using edge-AI. These collected data are analyzed and processed locally on the devices, and only most essential and small amount of data are sent to the cloud at very low power by "ELTRES" , a Sony original LPWA technology. Thanks to these advantage, tens of kilometers connectivity can be achieved with longer device battery lifetime. "PETER" has a dedicated application which has unique and user-friendly interface, designed based on interviews with farmers in livestock industry. In addition to the joint team, ART&PROGRAM, Inc. and Sakai Design Associate Ltd. supported development of "PETER" edge-device. ELTRES communication antenna uses DP-929-INF1-100 (product of Nippon Antenna Co., Ltd.) verified and measured by Nippon Antenna Co., Ltd.