Deployment and evaluation of an active RFID tracking system for finishing pigs

Brian L. Barnes, Deepak R. Keshwani, Tami M. Brown-Brandl

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Modern swine facilities were developed mainly based on logistics of feeding and moving animals. In recent years, the public has become increasingly concerned about animal care and well-being. A better understanding of the animal space utilization in current facilities could lead to improved facility design and better animal well-being. This study was conducted to determine whether an active RFID tag tracking system could accurately provide animal locomotion data on an individual animal basis. The system is composed of four sensors, located in the corners of a swine pen, and compact tags, which attach to the animals and transmit a signal. The sensors use the tag signals to determine 3-D positions in real-time. A data acquisition system was developed to capture raw data from the system software into a database for analysis. A single-location test was performed with 34 tags placed in close proximity to a known location, followed by three trials of a second test with 34 tags randomly arranged in a 1-meter by 1-meter grid across the pen. Results from the single-location test were relatively consistent with the manufacturer’s claim of 15-cm accuracy. Error was higher in the grid test, particularly in the Z-direction. The system was used to track four pigs for a period of two days, with visual data analysis showing 84.4% tracking accuracy. Further work revealed that the system is prone to generate large, random jumps in the data that need to be filtered if the desired use is for instantaneous measurements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 2017
Event8th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, 2017 - Nantes, France
Duration: Sep 12 2017Sep 14 2017


Conference8th European Conference on Precision Livestock Farming, 2017


  • Precision Livestock Farming
  • Precision Livestock Management
  • RFID
  • Swine
  • Ubisense

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


Dive into the research topics of 'Deployment and evaluation of an active RFID tracking system for finishing pigs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this