Commission on Precision Livestock Farming (PLF)

 

President

Ilan Halachmi,

Agriculture research organization (ARO),  Israel

halachmi@volcani.agri.gov.il

Vice-Presidents

Jarissa Maselyne

ILVO

Belguim

Pastell Matti

Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)

Finland

 

Secretaries

 

Radovan Kasarda

Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra

Slovakia

Shelly Druyan

The Volcani Center

Israel

Industry Representatives

 

Malcolm Mitchell

SRUC

UK

 

The worldwide demand for meat, milk and animal products might increase by 40% in the next 15 years. At the same time, the livestock production sector has to solve serious problems such as: animal health in relation to human health, improved animal welfare, to minimize negative impact on the environment, while retaining comparative price. Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) systems offer a farmer modern real-time monitoring sensing technologies and centric-animal management concept, aiming to allow the farmers to make living from their livestock business while facing the serious problems mentioned above.

Therefore, nowadays PLF is an emerging area of great scientific and commercial interest. Europe has an active industry related to PLF products. The PLF study commission will explore pathways to exploitation of PLF research to the benefits of agri-food chain users – such as farmers, processors and retailers.

The EAAP PLF study commission (SC) will support the European industry which is the most advanced in the world and will help to keep this level. The SC will encourage presentations of scientifically excellent research studies addressing industry challenges such: efficient animal production, early prediction of health problems (e.g. mastitis, lameness, respiratory disease) using sensors, animal welfare monitoring, monitoring animal social network, fertility and pregnancy, automated monitoring of growth and conformation of individual feed efficiency, using a range of animal sensing technologies such as machine vision, accelerometers, real-time location systems, signal processing, collection and real-time interpretation, and decision making from start-up companies, matured  industry, and university sensor development – across the full range of livestock species – including fish and grazing livestock.

The PLF sessions will emphasise relationships to animals, rather than the technology gadgets themselves.

The PLF session intend to identify contrasts in relation to the application of PLF: from very large farms, high degree of automation, large farm budgets for sensors, economies of scale (north America/Brazil, new large farms in burgeoning markets South-East Asia, China, Vietnam, India) to EU smallholder farms, animal welfare, consumer preferences, socio-economic considerations, cultural differences, starting from further back, less economy of scale, highly subsidised farming etc.

The PLF commission will encourage all actors to submit abstracts and actively participate – from innovative sensors, imaging and computational developers, through animal scientists identifying targets for sensing, to companies that are successfully commercialising systems. The sessions will be flexible, with the opportunity to link lecture presentations to hands-on technical displays. Discussion sessions will draw out practical aspects of each area – identifying common features of commercial successes, potential for transfer of technologies between sectors, as well as factors that hold back commercialisation in other areas.

The abstract selection criteria include: (1) PLF: automatic monitoring of the smallest manageable production unit, such as one single quarter of the udder, individual animal, a flock of chickens of a batch of fish. (2) Real experimental data, with proper experimental design, scientific methodology and suitable statistics. (3) Abstract may include all components of scientific study (introduction, aim, material and methods, results, discussion, and conclusions) in separate sections.

While we aim at having the top scientists as participants and invited speakers, we will also provide room for early career scientists, start-up companies, matured firms, and the many technicians that can be interested in the SC activities. The PLF SC will have the opportunity to cooperate with the existing SCs of EAAP in many different fields, and to cooperate with European research projects (since the EU started to finance animal sensor development, Ilan Halachmi was a partner in: OptiScore, Biobusness, Eu-PLF, OptiBarn and related cost actions such as DairyCare).