Sustainable precision dairy farming: Bridging animal welfare and stakeholder concerns about the use of precision dairy technologies

Grants and Contracts Details

Description

Good animal welfare is paramount to the dairy industry, including producers, processors, distributors, and cooperatives. The development of a new, accurate, and remote welfare assessment benchmark using validated multi-variable precision dairy technologies (PDTs) has the potential to increase the sustainability of the dairy industry in the future. PDTs allow for real-time, continuous recording of animal behavior and other animal-based outcomes at the individual animal level. Before these technologies can be useful in assessing animal welfare, predictive models and validations must first be done. Additionally, although technology may be useful to identify animal welfare concerns on-farm, dairy producers must be willing to adopt these technologies, see value and trust in these tools, and make sense of the data. Concurrently, there is a risk that investment in and adoption of novel technologies may be futile if these technologies are ultimately rejected by society. Therefore, the public must be engaged to establish which aspects of these technologies may generate social acceptance or concern. Thus, our proposed integrated research and extension project aims to bridge the use of PDTs with the social aspects of animal welfare. We will develop models and validate the use of multiple, integrated technologies to predict common animal welfare assessment outcomes that can be monitored remotely while simultaneously engaging dairy producer and the public in two-way conversations about the role of these technologies on-farm. Our multidisciplinary project will integrate scientific assessments of animal welfare, artificial intelligence, machine learning, dairy production knowledge, and social science to provide practical recommendations for the sustainable use of PDT on-farm.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date6/1/215/31/25

Funding

  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $1,000,000.00

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