Cargill tech seeks to provide shrimp producers data, production insights

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages
© GettyImages
Feeding suggestions, animal health insights and feeding behavior are among the details provided by Cargill’s cloud-based shrimp production software.

The Minnesota-based agri-giant is releasing an Internet-of-Things (IoT) based tool aimed at improving shrimp production using production and environmental data. The technology, iQShrimp, collects information from shrimp ponds using mobile devices, sensors and feeders and can provide insight and recommendations from the data gathered.

The details collected are used to generate an operations dashboard for producers, which provides recommendations in areas like feed management and optimal harvest dates.

The technology platform is intended to offer producers more insight into their production practices, said Neil Wendover, Cargill digital insights product line director for aquaculture. It also will give producers the chance to maintain and analyze historical and current data.

“Early indications on our data science work in Ecuador with large historical data sets suggest that our biomass prediction models are within 10% error of margin,”​ he told FeedNavigator. “These types of data trends and real-time insights will help both speed up and better inform decision making. Early warning signs of disease and/or poor performance will be clear to see, and mitigating management strategies may be implemented faster.” 

The software also can work with intelligent automated feeding systems, and provide suggested practices for shrimp producers, said Wendover. “By coupling information on appetite with production performance and water quality data, iQuatic can benchmark current performance and recommend feeding plans better suited to the conditions in that farm and that specific pond,”​ he added. 

Shrimp production tools

The technology initially is being offered to producers in different regions, including Southeast Asia and Central America, along with several countries, including Mexico, Ecuador, New Caledonia and India, the company said. However, it is expected to be made available globally in the coming months.

The initial focus is on accommodating producers who may be further in the process of using digital technology, said Wendover.

“Many operations and regions across the shrimp industry are embarking on this journey of digital transformation, some regions perhaps faster than others,”​ he said. “So, we are trying to accommodate to the encouragement of our customers and put our supporting resources where we see the biggest opportunities. However, we are not limited in this case and will work with any farmer who believes this will help them get the most out of their operation.”

The tool also can be scaled to fit different sizes of facility, he said. “We have tiered offerings for any kind of facility and irrespective of their technology enablement – this ranges from basic visuals for smaller, less tech-enabled farms to much deeper insights and predictive analytics,”​ he added.

“Because the software can incorporate historical data then no matter the size the farmer will see value in looking at old data in new and hopefully more insightful ways,”​ he said.

The only technology that needs to be in place to run the new program is internet availability in a farm office, said Wendover.

“If there are locally installed sensors then the software can feasibly integrate with most sensors that farmers are using,”​ he said. “The more tech-enabled the farm and the more data collection from varying sources can be integrated, the greater the power of the predictive analytics.”

Internet-of-things technology

Looking forward, there are plans to expand the role of the iQuatic platform, which is used in the iQShrimp program, to more than just shrimp production, Cargill said. In the next several months, the technology is set to be expanded to include production of common species including tilapia and salmon.

The company also recently announced a strategic partnership​ with Cainthus. The company’s platform uses visual data and predictive imaging to track cows and examine health and behavior.

“Cargill’s goal is to help our customers thrive,”​ said Wendover. “We see an increasing opportunity to use data, analytics and digital tools for pro-active intervention and optimized management – particularly as it relates to IoT.”

“By combining different data sets from new on-farm sensory data with performance data and synthesizing that through cloud applications and machine learning, we believe [IoT] will drive a tremendous opportunity to improve productivity, mitigate risk and optimize profitability for animal producers,”​ he said.

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