March 23, 2023

Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station receives $1 million grant for poultry examine

The COVID-19 pandemic strained many poultry processing crops as staff turned ailing and a few even died. The consequence was unstable manufacturing and provide chain disruptions for greater than a 12 months. Researchers in Arkansas are hoping to make use of robotics to stave off this drawback sooner or later.

The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station researchers just lately acquired a $1 million grant funded by a joint proposal between the Nationwide Science Basis’s Nationwide Robotics Initiative 3.0 and the U.S. Division of Agriculture’s Nationwide Institute of Meals and Agriculture.

Dongyi Wang, assistant professor of organic and agricultural engineering, is the principal investigator on the venture. Wang conducts analysis for the experiment station, the analysis arm of the College of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

A significant focus in Wang’s lab is to grasp what jobs robotic and automatic techniques can accomplish.

“We try to discover the alternatives and to see how automation will help the agriculture business and the meals business,” Wang mentioned.

This four-year venture will result in the event of a robotic system that may cling uncooked hen as human employees do to fulfill the long-term wants of the poultry business.

In 2021, the U.S. produced 59.2 billion kilos of broiler chickens, in keeping with the USDA. The U.S. Poultry and Egg Affiliation reported the sector produces about 2 million jobs straight or not directly and generated about $121 billion in salaries in 2022 nationwide.

Arkansas ranked third within the nation, producing one billion broilers or about 7.46 billion kilos of meat. It was value $3.97 billion in 2021, in keeping with the 2022 Arkansas Agriculture Profile.

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Arkansas is house to 2 of the nation’s prime poultry producing corporations, Tyson Meals and Peco Meals.

Most of the steps to course of hen are already automated in processing crops, Wang mentioned. Slaughtering and evisceration do not likely depend on folks. Rehanging the uncooked hen is without doubt one of the main steps that depends on human work. Staff on the processing line cling the birds on conveyor traces that proceed to the deboning, wing-cutting and packing steps.

Wang visualizes this venture benefitting the scientific areas of tactile sensing, 3D imaging, twin robotic management and algorithms. He additionally sees it benefitting the poultry business itself.

“It is extremely, very thrilling that this sort of expertise, even perhaps not proper now, however probably, will help the native financial improvement and the native business,” Wang mentioned.