Professor Heinz Bernhardt discusses industry trends at EuroTier 2022

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The innovations registered for EuroTier 2022, the world’s leading platform for innovations in all areas of animal production, reflect the entire spectrum of the agricultural sector

The trend towards smart farming is clearly noticeable and has been demonstrated in the quality of submitted innovations that were comprehensively evaluated by the internationally staffed DLG Innovations Committee. The criteria for products and innovations to be selected for an award depend upon a number of factors including their importance to practical use, animal welfare, effects on labour and farm management and the environment and energy situation. Besides these, impacts on workload reduction, work safety and sustainability have also been taken into consideration.

Now, looking at the trends in farm inputs, focus has been laid upon optimum health care for the animals, while reducing their environmental impacts through appropriate feeding systems. On the other hand, reducing workload has remained the objective when it comes to farm technology.

Trends in cattle farming have included a continued focus on animal welfare. Automation of an increasing number of process steps ranging from the automatic cleaning and restarting of mobile calf drinkers to cleaning systems for mini-milking systems have ensured process reliability and sustainability.

In the pig sector, sensor technology has been emerging. Innovative approaches such as image or sound analysis have enabled individual data collection even without sensors being directly attached on the animals. Moreover, digitalised and automated littering systems have enabled the objectives of workload reduction, ecology and economy to be met simultaneously.

Coming to poultry farming and other livestock, trends have been shifting in the direction of increasing animal welfare and reducing environmental pollution. Optimised littering systems capable of meeting these objectives can be found here, too. Also, with changing consumer demand, new animal species have also captured the interest of production. This trend is indicated, for example, by feeding systems for insects.

Lastly, digitalisation has remained a megatrend in agriculture, with developments ranging from automated data recording with networked sensor technologies and database systems up to and including the automation of analyses and processes and intelligent barn management. The system approach giving consideration to profitability and sustainability is continuing to shift into focus. The options offered by the specific networking of data in the animal area are being demonstrated by the award-winning drying-off management function for cows, which combines data from several areas. However the difficulties caused by the lack of a universal data interface in the animal area are also becoming apparent, thus wasting the potential for animal welfare and sustainability. 

To conclude, the above trends indicate that the national and international companies within the animal production industry have remained exceedingly innovative and are launching products for sustainable animal production onto the market. A visit to EuroTier 2022 offers the possibility of discussing the sector’s future issues directly and determining the appropriate development concept. The focus remains on smart solutions without neglecting the continuous optimisation of existing systems for successful and sustainable animal production.

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