Farming News - AI Device Supports Farmers to Protect their Swine

AI Device Supports Farmers to Protect their Swine

  • SoundTalks® detects respiratory diseases in pigs sooner, supporting early intervention and better health and welfare
  • Empowers farmers with real-time data, enabling informed decision-making and improved efficiencies
  • Effective detection and intervention measures can positively aid the well-being of livestock, the financial viability of farmers, and the stability of food supply


Providing farmers and vets with peace of mind

Today, Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the leading providers of health solutions in predicting and preventing disease outbreaks in swine, announces the launch of SoundTalks® across the UK and Ireland. Harnessing the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, this device can help to improve the health of pigs and enables farmers to operate more efficiently.


Built on years of real farm sound data, SoundTalks® uses AI algorithms to 'listen' to the frequency and intensity of coughs in pigs, alerting the producer to the onset of potential problems. This innovative device has already been shown to detect respiratory disease in pigs up to five days sooner than conventional methods, supporting vets and farmers to deliver earlier appropriate treatments and responses, improving health outcomes, and minimising the risk of infection across the herd. 

With 24/7 monitoring, SoundTalks® provides farmers with a reliable and objective way to detect and identify trends in respiratory conditions through real-time data. This enables them to spend more time across the rest of their farm, alleviating the need for constant observation, and providing peace of mind.

Richard Riley, Production Director at Yorkwold Pigpro Ltd said "We are always keen to adopt an innovation that supports animal welfare. The data from SoundTalks® provides us with the confidence that this technology can help us to identify, investigate, and take action to address potential health issues with our pigs. We strive to continuously lower antibiotic use and SoundTalks® could help us to do this and in turn have benefits in growth rates and mortality for our pigs."

Paul Thompson BA VetMB MRCVS, Veterinarian at Garth Pig Practice said "The earlier we can detect the onset of disease the quicker we can intervene. By taking action earlier we can aim to reduce morbidity and mortality, and potentially lessen treatments including antibiotic use. This will help improve the wellbeing of the pigs and reduce the time commitments and costs for the farmer. Having heard how SoundTalks® is already transforming the practices of producers and vets in other parts of Europe, I am excited to use it in my own day-to-day role. This innovation has the potential to provide robust data as to when respiratory disease starts, allowing us to refine our prevention plans and improve the overall health of the pigs."

The announcement demonstrates Boehringer Ingelheim's commitment to supporting farmers in improving the health and welfare of livestock through innovation. This aligns with the UK government's ambition following the recent availability of the Animal Health and Welfare grant through the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund.

Findlay MacBean, Head of Livestock, Boehringer Ingelheim UK and Ireland said, "Respiratory diseases can be detrimental not only to the health and wellbeing of livestock but a farmer's bottom line. Against the backdrop of the wider pressures British and Irish pig farmers face today including labour shortages and the rising costs of production, maintaining herd health is becoming more challenging, and crucially, more important. Through tools like SoundTalks®, Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to creating innovative solutions that enable farmers to predict, prevent and treat animal health conditions, helping them to achieve more."


SoundTalks® in action

Each SoundTalks® device covers up to a 10-metre radius and has a microphone that 'listens' to the pigs, and humidity and temperature sensors. The monitors transmit the pig noises to the Gateway, which links to the cloud where sounds are analysed.

Listening and monitoring devices are not new in the animal health industry, but what makes SoundTalks® unique is the years of data that were used to build the algorithms that the device uses to compare and detect coughs, and that the system is continually 'learning'.

The sound data is translated into a respiratory health score, which is inversely related to the risk of morbidity and mortality, and visualised in an online dashboard and mobile app. The monitors themselves also signal the respiratory health status of the pigs and alert anomalies with a traffic-light system, helping farmers identify and focus attention on the right groups of pigs sooner. This enables farmers to take action quicker and minimises the impact on farm productivity, which has been shown to reduce as soon as the disease progresses throughout the herd. Without action, productivity losses are further amplified as time goes by, as more healthy animals get infected, secondary infections appear, and the severity of the disease is greater.

With 5-day earlier intervention and improved overall health among livestock, installation of SoundTalks® has resulted in an increase of 12.7g average daily gain and decreased mortality rates, ultimately supporting farmers in a challenging industry with a positive monthly return on investment ranging from 2.5 to 7.9.

SoundTalks® has already been recognised for its groundbreaking impact, achieving gold status for both the Innovation and Animal Welfare categories at the EuroTier awards.

For more information about SoundTalks® visit: