SERKET – AI for livestock health management

Start-up SERKET is working on an AI application that allows farmers to better monitor their livestock. Good for food safety and animal welfare. Seven questions for Kristof Nagy, founder and CEO of SERKET. Read the Dutch version on Emerce.

What exactly does SERKET do?

“SERKET has developed an innovative solution for livestock monitoring. It helps pig farmers improve the way they monitor the welfare of their livestock and thus solve the serious shortage of human labor on farms. We focus on developing sensor-free artificial intelligence that uses camera images to improve farm productivity, promote individual animal health and, most importantly, address future food security challenges.

We help our customers improve their livestock management processes, reduce day-to-day operational costs and minimize labor challenges. By detecting changes in animal behavior in real time using standard security cameras and CCTV, we enable farmers to use less antibiotics, lower feed costs and improve animal lifespan and welfare.”

Where do you see the main application?

“The software solution is used in pig houses and pens and helps farmers to gain more control over their livestock. With the SERKET solution, animals can be monitored 24×7 as a group and individually. Certain patterns can be recognized through this systematic monitoring. If those patterns deviate from the expected patterns, an early warning system notifies farmers to monitor the health of the group and/or individual animal.

Our solution is able to detect the individual pig 24/7 and monitor their activities such as drinking, eating and behaviors such as aggressiveness and playfulness with an accuracy almost comparable to the human eye. Our application is now being applied to pig farming, but can be scaled up to all animal species and crops in the future.”

The top image is a normal camera image. The second is an annotated frame with segmentation, tracking and activity classification of pigs. The colors indicate animal actions. Each one has its own unique ID.

What is the impact of SERKET?

“Firstly, on food safety and therefore the health of the consumer. Secondly, animal health, including biosecurity, animal monitoring, antibiotics, welfare and behaviour. Third, our solution helps in human resources by contributing to labor efficiency, improvement of work environment and work performance. And finally, this sum contributes to a more sustainable way of dealing with the environment.

SERKET’s vision is to help customers streamline their workflow, modernize their infrastructure and become a driver of industry innovation. Our vision goes beyond just making a profit. I envision that the brand will systematically bring the benefits of 21st century technology to agriculture and equip humanity with the tools needed for sustainable farming.”

Where are you now?

“We have now developed one of the most advanced and well-annotated datasets for multi-object tracking in general and for livestock in particular. The algorithms are based on MaskRCNN and Yolact-Edge to perform instance segmentation. We have simple tracking schemes to follow each individual pig for a short period of time (~1 min) and a deepstream pipeline that puts them on-edge in a real farm. We work with 40 farms in six countries and partner with the best animal food companies.

We will help farmers make better decisions in a responsible and sustainable way.

We want to help livestock farmers assess their opportunities, predict their future, execute dynamic scenarios using data and analytics to bridge the gap, from production or nutrition to health management and food safety.”

When do you plan to go to the market?

“We are currently conducting several pilots and trials worldwide, continuously developing our ML/AL algorithms and modeling capabilities and annotated datasets. Our commercial roadmap has been set for 2022.”

Who has invested in SERKET and what kind of investors are you looking for?

“We have worked successfully with the EU and Dutch governments, Hungarian investors and most recently with Silicon Valley-based SVG THRIVE.”

What would be the ideal match?

“Solving the biggest challenges in the food and agriculture industry means working with credible and innovative partners. We look for opportunities and partnerships with those who can bring our vision and mission to producers and farming communities.”

Best of luck with everything!

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