Innovations and trends at EuroTier 2021

ProfMatthiasSchickThe innovations registered for EuroTier 2021 comprehensively reflect the whole spectrum of today’s professional agriculture and its innovation needs

The constant drive towards more sustainable forms of production with more emphasis on animal welfare and improved consumer acceptance is also clearly visible.

Prof Dr habil. Matthias Schick, EuroTier innovation committee, explains.

Unlimited innovative power

Even in times of a pandemic, innovation in animal husbandry and the related agricultural machinery industry continues unchecked and across borders. In selecting award-winning innovations, decisive criteria include the importance for practice, animal welfare, the effects on work and business management, and the environment and the energy situation. Moreover, the Innovation Commission takes the effects on work simplification and safety at work into account in its evaluations.

International innovation platform

To be a candidate for an award, the registered innovations may not have been presented or honoured at other trade fairs or international events. The award-winning products must further be fully functional when the trade fair takes place and be available on the market in 2021. In 2021, in addition to the gold and silver awards, the special recognition award ‘Animal Welfare’, a category introduced in 2018, will again be conferred. This recognises products that exceed the requirements of animal welfare standards. Special emphasis is placed on products that include species-specific behaviour and, thus, positively influence the health of farm animals. The ‘Animal Welfare Award’ is awarded in collaboration with the German Association of Veterinary Practitioners (bpt - Bundesverband Praktizierender Tierärzte). This recognition can only be conferred on an innovation that has already won a EuroTier Gold or Silver award in 2021.

All 80 registered innovations have been allocated to 14 subject areas and have been evaluated by independent experts. The majority of innovations for EuroTier 2021 were entered in the subject areas’ equipment and technology for equipment use’, ‘Pig housing and feeding technology’ and ‘Digital solutions for herd management and quality assurance’. However, most medals were awarded in the field of ‘Cattle housing and feeding technology’. The only gold medal awarded for EuroTier 2021 comes from this subject area.

Trends in equipment and technology for the use of operating resources

This year, the focus of the operational funds will be on supplementary feed for all animal species, improved preservation of dried fodder, and preservative feed protection. Also novel, fast-acting methods for rodent control will be highlighted. Also of interest is the recurring interest in professional hay ventilation techniques for square bales, which reflects a growing awareness of quality.

Trends in dairy and cattle farming

The trends in cattle farming are moving towards improved hygiene in calf husbandry. New chemical-free disinfection options are particularly noteworthy in this area. The optimisation of calf feeding can also be seen as an increased trend towards improved animal health. In dairy farming, the trends continue to move towards automation to support production and reduce harmful gases. The possibilities shown here range from the gold award, a cow toilet, to counter-rotating conveyor belt systems for faeces/urine separation.

Trends in pig farming

In pig farming, automation has been introduced much earlier than in other animal species. Therefore, the trends are now more in the direction of production security and optimisation of feeding, climate control and energy efficiency. As there is a social trend towards demanding more animal welfare, this direction is also evident in the number of registrations with straw automats, additional roughage automats and more employment opportunities. It is hoped for the impacted German pig farmers that this is not just a verbal open-mindedness with simultaneous behavioural rigidity on the part of consumers, but a real trend with positive effects for all concerned.

Trends in poultry farming

The trends in poultry farming are moving towards increased efficiency and sustainability and towards securing production. The focus is on process engineering measures through optimised lighting and improved automated feeding systems and systems to reduce emissions.

A socially relevant trend in the poultry sector is the automated in-ovo sex determination of hen eggs using hormone analysis. There are now fully automated systems on the market with acceptable performance and non-invasive removal of allantoic fluid.

Trends in digitalisation and herd management

Digitalisation is a megatrend in agriculture and ranges from automated data acquisition with networked sensor technologies to networked data, the automation of analyses and procedures and intelligent health monitoring. The systems approach, taking into account economic efficiency and sustainability, continues to move to the forefront. At this year’s EuroTier, the successful combination of digitisation and animal welfare is very well illustrated by the example of the ‘Calf Monitoring System’, which was received both a Silver and was recognised for the Animal Welfare Award. This innovation constitutes a simple yet precise and non-invasive system employing an infrared sensor to offer the farmer a better understanding of the behaviour of their calves. This, in turn, means the farmer can carry out targeted health monitoring to improve animal health while at the same time, reduce the use of antibiotics.

Final Conclusion: ‘On the trail of the system approach’

It becomes clear that national and international companies’ innovative power in the animal husbandry industry continues unchecked by presenting the trends. A virtual visit to EuroTier digital 2021 will be worthwhile. A major trend is moving in the direction of optimising existing techniques and processes. In this context, the aim is increasingly to find smart solutions that support farmers in their decision-making for successful and sustainable animal husbandry.

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