Smart dairy farming: innovative solutions to improve herd productivity
Barn structure, herd management and heat stress can affect health and welfare of dairy cows and, consequently, their productive and reproductive performance, thus disturbing the economic and environmental sustainability of the dairy chain.
New techniques and tools can help improve environmental conditions in the barn as well as welfare and fertility of cows, leading to improved production efficiency and reduced production costs per kilogram of milk. Different aspects can be considered when studying the influence of structures and herd management on animal welfare.
This project will focus on some of the most relevant aspects for farmers, including: animal welfare, improved welfare with pastures, heat detection, heat stress, feeding behavior, environmental impact.
The development of technology offers new opportunities for real-time monitoring and support of single cows behavior (e.g., behavior during heat) and environmental parameters (e.g., temperature and humidity), which are collectively identified with the term of Precision Livestock farming (PLF). PLF will be used to study the link between the different parameters (hyperthermia, dehydration, increased activity, individual and collective behavior, environmental parameters, etc.) to improve efficiency and the economic and environmental sustainability in farm management and design.