Home / Agricultural Economy / Agribusiness / NEW TECH INCREASES LIVESTOCK FEED EFFICIENCY AND REDUCES CARBON FOOTPRINT!

NEW TECH INCREASES LIVESTOCK FEED EFFICIENCY AND REDUCES CARBON FOOTPRINT!

Press release…

Barns fitted with new 3D cameras that monitor cows are helping dairy and beef producers save feed costs, reduce climate impact and improve animal welfare. The data generated creates a new Saved Feed Index trait on sires which has potential to save an estimated 740 thousand tonnes of CO2 per year for farmers, retailers and milk processors.

Consumer pressure is mounting on farmers to produce food more efficiently and with less greenhouse gases while at the same time ensuring good animal welfare is top of the agenda.

Farmers, retailers and food processors know they need to improve their businesses but the main issues are how to ensure incomes while on this efficiency drive.

The main questions focus on how agriculture can become more feed efficient and climate-friendly?

Around 60-70% of the variable costs on a dairy or beef farm relates to feeding the cows. On average, 6% of a cow’s energy is spent on producing methane rather than milk. However, this varies from 2-12% depending on how efficient the cow is in converting feed into milk.

3D cameras and artificial intelligence identify the cows at the barn, estimate their weight and quantify how much they eat.

To improve the feeding efficiency and reduce the global milk and meat production emissions, VikingGenetics has developed the CFIT technology and a Saved Feed Index for the dairy and beef industry. Based in the Nordic countries, the bovine genetics company has spent more than a decade on extensive data collection and R&D in this field. The Saved Feed Index is based on data from the CFIT technology, a system where 3D cameras monitor and measure the feed intake at barns. This happens throughout the lactation of the cows from commercial herds, without disturbing the daily routine and cow’s natural behaviour.

How to quantify the amount of feed?

The 3D cameras and artificial intelligence identify the cows at the barn, estimate their weight and quantify how much they eat. Each cow is identified from pictures of its back. The cameras record the cow’s distinct pattern of colours and body shape.

To quantify the amount of feed that each cow consumes during a day, the cameras take pictures of the surface of the feed. One picture before the cow goes to the feeding table to eat, and one after she leaves. By subtracting the two images, the CFIT technology helps the farmer quantify the amount of feed that the cow consumes 24/7, all year round.

How efficient is each cow?

David Stenkaer Ravnkilde, CSMO at VikingGenetics explained: “Our new Saved Feed Index shows you how efficient each cow is in turning feed into milk. Data from the Nordic farms show that there is more than 200 euros to save per cow per year when looking at the most efficient versus the least efficient cows. Two cows with the same milk yield can have a difference in feed intake of more than 1.2 ton DMI. That has a huge impact on farmer’s bottom line.

To improve the feeding efficiency and reduce the global milk and meat production emissions, VikingGenetics has developed the CFIT technology.

“By using the Saved Feed Index, a farmer can find out which bulls will bring the best performing and most climate-friendly cows. If you have a cow and a bull both with the index for Saved Feed 110, then the offspring will consume 70-100kgs dry matter less in one lactation. This will impact not only the farmer’s bottom line, but also the farms carbon footprint and the animal welfare because cows that are feed correctly live longer, thrive better and yield more milk,” he said.

Reduce methane emissions by 33% per litre…

According to an Arla report, the cow’s digestion and the cow’s feed account for over 80% of on-farm emissions. By improving the cow’s feed efficiency, the dairy and beef industry can reduce the global carbon milk and meat production emissions.

By using the highest-ranking Saved Feed sires from VikingGenetics farmers can reduce dry matter intake with 230,000 kilograms for a herd with 1,000 cows.

David said: “If a VikingGenetics cow replaces an average European cow, it gives a saving of 0.1kg CO2 per kg milk. On other continents, the savings can be even bigger and are expected to be 0.33kg CO2 per kg milk. If we add things up, with the current prevalence of our genetics worldwide, it gives an estimated saving of approx. 0.74 million tonnes CO2 per year.

“For us, it makes a lot of sense to be part of the solution and contribute with our know-how to this crucial effort. A dairy farmer in India can, for example, reduce methane emissions by 33% per litre milk if they use our genetics,” he adds.

VikingGenetics is one of the leading companies in the industry that strive and invest heavily to reduce the carbon footprint from cattle breeding. The CFIT technology and Saved Feed Index provide the reliable data farmers need to breed feed-efficient cows, make a profitable dairy business and create a better future.

About İsmail Uğural

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