Intelligent Barn

Sustainable water consumption in pig farming

Continuous monitoring of the water consumption by both fattening pigs and piglets provides an insight into the health status of the animals. This allows an early detection of disease cases. That is the tentative conclusion from several initial results of a study conducted by Connecting Agri & Food. In addition to the water consumption, the inside and outside temperature are also measured. With fattening pigs, the feed consumption is also being recorded.

Online tool water consumption

During the experiment, digital water meters were used to continuously measure the consumption. The data was made more understandable using graphs in the software of Intelligent Barn.


The water consumption per round per day is included in the predictive value of the data. The trend line has been calculated from this. The conclusion was that the trend could be determined fairly accurately (with an average R2 of 0.9).

Water consumption in case of disease

Another study in Denmark has shown that disease outbreaks can be predicted accurately by monitoring water consumption. In this study, conducted by Connecting Agri & Food, similar patterns in water consumption were observed. A disease outbreak occurred, showing a same pattern of water consumption. However, the outbreak was so minimal that the relationship with the water consumption cannot be demonstrated with certainty. This requires further study.

After the animals were vaccinated, the same pattern became visible in the water consumption. In addition, deviations from the expected water consumption could be associated with high outside temperatures and major jumps in that outside temperature, as well as with frost (outside the stable).

Increase water consumption

A practical example of sustainable water consumption was discovered after noticing an explosive increase in water consumption in the real-time data. After the entrepreneur had received an alert, he immediately visited the section and the water pipe was found to be broken. That way he could take immediate action and prevent a substantial loss of water.

This graph shows an explosive increase in water consumption when the water pipe broke.

Also climate data

Angela van der Sanden, project account manager, explains: “The results of the studies show the potential for an insight into water consumption. I expect that, in the future, through continuous monitoring of water consumption, we can achieve progress in sustainability and animal health.”

There is a follow-up to the studies on piglets. The measurements have since been expanded to include climate data, where parameters such as CO2, relative humidity and temperature are displayed in real time. In addition, these studies are now also performed on maternity sows.

This project and a pilot study by Connecting Agri & Food were made possible by BOM, Province of Overijssel and VEWI.