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Music for pigs and apple tree growth: the surprising role of data science in AgriFood

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Data science is playing a growing role in Agriculture and Food. A surprising and little known fact, even for many Data Science students. That’s why Data Science Association Pattern decided to organize their yearly student symposium around this theme. And with success: the attending students were surprised to discover the many ways in which data science is used in AgriFood centered organizations and companies.

Many applications of Data Science within AgriFood

“We were looking for a surprising and interesting topic that isn’t covered in the normal curriculum of the bachelor Data Science. The first thing that comes to mind for many students when thinking about their future career, is a tech company such as ASML. The fact that there are so many applications for data science within Agriculture and Food is new to them.”, says Natasha van den Berg, member of the symposium committee.

The symposium took place on March 2, 2021. About 30 students listened to presentations from academia and business. One of the presentations was given by data science business Mediaan. For one of their customers, they researched the effects of music on the wellbeing and behavior of pigs in a stable. Their customer is now able to manage different types of music and analyze their behavior.

Jari Rijnen, a second year masterstudent at JADS, gave a presentation about his master thesis. He developed predictive models for optimizing the growth of apple trees.

Relevant and close to home

“The symposium opened our eyes to the possibilities of data science in AgriFood. Who would have thought a career in data science could involve apple tree growth and the wellbeing of pigs? The fact that Jari is a second year master student made the presentation relevant for us and brought it close to home. You can imagine yourself in his position in a couple of years. That made his presentation very valuable for students,” says Naomi Boomkamp, who organized the symposium together with Natasha.

Target achieved! The students are already looking for a topic for their next event and are now looking into the analysis of emotions through brain scans.

Below you find a video impression of the presentation from Mediaan

More information

More information about the AgriFood domain can be found on our AgriFood and Nature homepage.

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