Enhancing environmental sustainability of livestock farms by removing barriers for adopting ICT technologies

The main objectives of the LivestockSense

This will be achieved by selecting and supplying a number of farms in 5 key geographical areas in Europe with Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) tools. Both qualitative and quantitative surveys will be used to understand farmers’ attitudes towards PLF tools to identify barriers for the limited adoption of ICT based technologies. LivestockSense will also involve other actors in the value chain, such as technology developers and policy makers to explore attitudes towards the PLF and understand the future expectations of the livestock sectors. Recommendations will be made to remove or reduce the impact of those barriers. The likely economic and environmental benefits associated with technology adoption will also be incorporated in a learning database and associated website using AI based technologies and ICT tools for decision support.

Background

Utilisation of ICT based tools in agriculture is crucial for the EU to become internationally competitive, socially inclusive and climate neutral by 2050, the goal set in the European Green Deal. However, promoting and adoption of ICT tools is a major challenge in animal production. Although advanced ICT solutions improve the environmental and economic viability of animal husbandry; farmers are not open to new technologies due to a lack of in-depth knowledge about the implications of its usage. The development of sustainable animal husbandry requires the removal of socio-economic and cultural barriers preventing the wider adoption of ICT tools.

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Main project objectives

Understand the reasons for the limited use of ICT tools

Document farmers' information needs

Explore farmers' attitudes towards PLF systems

Assess their knowledge of decision-making processes about the information provided by ICT tools

Support farmers in adapting to the PLF through workshop, mentoring and a web-based application with an open Application Programming Interface (API).

Ambitions

Overcome selected socio cultural and economic constraints that prevent a more sustainable livestock production to foster green growth and digitization in the EU.

Bridge the gap of ICT/PLF-knowledge

Increase farmer’s openness towards PLF technologies

Demonstrate the economic and environmental impact of the application of PLF technologies / systems

Implement multi-actor approach in order to accumulate knowledge

Provide on-site data collection results for further analyses of PLF imple­men­tation

Work Packages

Coordination and Management

Set-up of a management framework, including overall management of activities, organisation of project meetings and communications with the ERA-NET office. Work Package leader: AgHiTech
Tasks
  • Administrative management of the project
  • Scientific & technology management of the project
  • Quality management
  • IPR management
  • Risk management
Deliverables
  • Project Management Handbook
  • IPR Guidelines/DMP
  • Project Periodic Reports including cost statements and distributions of funds according to the contracted schedule
  • Project Final Report

Social research to identify the limitations of PLF technology use

WP2 systematically applies ‘mixed social science methods’ to identify barriers for the adoption of PLF tools in high-priority areas. WP2 will specifically look at the beliefs and management behaviour related to current trends in human-animal (Hostiou et al., 2017) and human-machine interactions, as well as the acceptability of PLF tools by early adopters.

Work Package leader: MIGAL

Tasks
  • State-of-Art – Learn from the past
  • Quantitative survey of pig & poultry sectors
  • Qualitative study with the early adopters of ICT/PLF technologies
  • Qualitative focus group discussions and workshops
  • Aggregate the results of high-priority geographical areas
Deliverables
  • Preliminary results of questionnaires representing pig/poultry farms at high-priority areas
  • Interviews, case studies, KPIs based on national/regional qualitative assessments
  • Focus group reports on attitudes towards PLF and the sectors’ future expectations, workshop reports
  • Report results of analysis (incl. aggregated analysis of quantitative questionnaires, qualitative interviews, attitude monitoring and focus group discussions)

Database and model development

Acquire the necessary information from the selected study farms to quantify economic & environmental benefits of using PLF tools under commercial on-farm conditions.

Work Package leader: AgHiTech

Tasks
  • Selecting study farms
  • Ensuring ‘PLF readiness’ at selected farms
  • Develop pig & poultry database
  • Develop a model and learning database for quantifying economic and environmental benefits of using PLF tools
Deliverables
  • Study farms are selected and PLF tools are deployed
  • Database developed and relevant information captured
  • Quantify economic & environmental benefits of PLF tools and develop documentation

ICT tool development

Undertake software development and related IT tasks and builds on WP2/WP3 in creating an ICT tool that will also support WP5 dissemination activities. Agile software development methods will be applied to let end-users make decisions & propose changes throughout the development.

Work Package leader: AKI

Tasks
  • Set up a project portal to disseminate project-related information
  • Design and develop data-driven web-based application and an open API
Deliverables
  • LivestockSense project portal
  • Data-driven, web-based application with an open API

Communication and dissemination

Communicate findings, scientific discoveries and inventions by selecting the right targets, communication channels and tools to engage key stakeholders. Obtain the anticipated impacts detailed in the ICT-AGRI-FOOD research call.

Work Package leader: Innvite

Tasks
  • Dissemination Plan
  • Exploitation of the project’s results
  • Realization of Communication Plan
  • Networking
Deliverables
  • Dissemination plan and updates
  • Plan for the exploitation of the project’s results
  • Communication plan
  • Networking plan and updates

Partners