With a certain sense of the formula, Clermont-based startup Pigstech claims it makes “pigs talk”. So close to us biologically, interested parties can complain that their personal data is being used for commercial purposes. And precisely for the optimization of the delicatessen of your carcass.
Some of our readers will also object that connecting pigs does not necessarily reflect a desire to improve the conditions of their (usually) brief existence. Etienne Guérou, founder of Pigstech, assures us: thanks to its “smart tag”, an “intelligent” sensor attached to the piglets’ ears from birth, Pigstech will “improve the animal’s life”. Improving sanitary conditions, reducing stress, even suffering, preventing or detecting pathologies early… All this simplifying the creator’s work.
One of the characteristics of pig farming is the high mortality: “In Asia, it can reach 25 to 30% of piglets, against less than 10% in France”, says Etienne Guérou.
A real-time cattle dashboard
The ear tag and applications developed by Pigstech allow you to monitor the health status of thousands of pigs in real time and simultaneously. More “one-on-one” monitoring than offered by existing monitoring solutions for swine farms. This typically includes cameras and atmospheric sensors installed in buildings.
“A body temperature alert on your smartphone allows you to identify a sick piglet, take care of it and avoid contagion”
Etienne Guerou (Pigstech co-founder)
Pigstech is not the first company to directly connect farm animals, but “it is often the cattle that benefit from the most individualized technologies, for the value of each animal.” Pigstech intends, in a way, to “democratize” such detailed monitoring for the benefit of farms with large animal populations and high turnover. A piglet leaves the farm at six months, during which time it will increase from 1 kg to 120 kg. There is no collar that can support this rate of growth…hence the attached ear loop placement.
Etienne Guérou and his partner Thierry Claireau, founders of Pigstech, are specialists in Asian markets: the start-up first targets Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
The proposed technology is obviously destined to be global. In addition to the animal, objects are connected to the system, such as the scale. An analysis of the data collected provides a real-time dashboard of the creation: the birth registration, all administrative or statistical information, which facilitate management, can be consulted permanently on a mobile phone or web application.
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The founder insists on the importance of mastering Data (digital data): “There are two aspects. Sovereignty, which allows all our agricultural data not to be in the hands of American companies. On the other hand, collaborative data offers opportunities for improvement for breeders, who will be able to compare their performance and solutions with those of farms around the world.” Installed since 2020 at the start-up incubator Crédit Agricole de La Pardieu in Clermont, Pigstech is first targeting the Asian market before trying to connect Cantal pigs.
Yesitis: an industrial partner of Auvergne
The two founders, Etienne Guérou and Thierry Claireau, are two traveling executives who met in Asia twenty years ago. Thierry Claireau, an expert in cutting-edge agricultural technologies, is still based in Thailand, from where he manages Pigstech’s sales representatives based in Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.
Etienne Guérou compiles the parameters that drive the young company from Auvergne to focus its commercial efforts in this region: “Pork is widely consumed there, farms come in all sizes, but they can reach very large dimensions, without necessarily benefiting from the technical monitoring that allows you to limit losses.” Above all, “the price of pork per kilo is twice the price in France”, which encourages investment. Associates plan to install their first systems in Asia this month.
The basic version of the Pigstech solution was tested on a farm in Auvergne.
Delighted with the welcome from “Credit Agricole and the regional management of BPI-France”, Etienne Guérou also found an innovative industrial partner in Puy-de-Dôme: the Clermont-based company Yesitis, which provides both the design, the fabrication of connected objects and the creation of digital applications.
“Everything will be done in Auvergne”, welcomes the entrepreneur with global ambitions. And in particular in Brassac-les-Mines (Puy-de-Dôme), at the Emi factory, a subsidiary of the Yesitis group.
Etienne Guérou is convinced that in addition to optimizing management, technology can offer an improvement in crop conditions, with more monitoring and veterinary safety: “In research and development, for example, we are developing solutions for the treatment of water drunk by cattle by electrolysis and ionization”, he illustrates. The data collection itself can promote good breeding practices… by disclosing it to the consumer.
Without blah-blah marketing, a breeder has the possibility to display on a product’s QR code “the fact that his farm respects all health and ethical standards, for example in terms of the area given to the animals”, insists Etienne Guérou.
Contact. www.pigstech.com. The Clermont-based start-up will be present at the Summit of Livestock in Cournon d’Auvergne (Puy-de-Dôme) from 4 to 7 October 2022.