Quantile regression forests-based modeling and environmental indicators for decision support in broiler farming
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Broiler meat chicken
An efficient and sustainable animal production requires fine-tuning and control of all the parameters involved. But this is not a simple task. Animal farming is a complex biological system in which environmental parameters and management practices interact in a dynamic way. In addition, the typical non-linear response of biological processes implies that relationships across parameters that are critical to assure animal welfare and performance are difficult to determine. In this paper a novel decision support system based on environmental indicators and on weights, leg problems and mortality rates is proposed to address this issue. The data-driven modeling process is performed by a quantile regression forests approach that allows estimating growth, welfare and mortality parameters on the basis of environmental deviations from optimal farm conditions. Resulting models also provide confidence intervals able to deal with uncertainty. They are deployed in farm, offering an accessible tool ...