Across society environmental issues are increasingly important. However, there is no industry more connected to the environment than agriculture. That is why the international exhibition for animal production Space put climate and climate change in the spotlight.
This year, Space addressed the major issues affecting agriculture, and in particular the livestock sector. Just days after the G7 summit and a couple of weeks after the publication of the IPCC report on climate change, reduction of environmental pressure in livestock production is one of the major points of attention at the agricultural trade show in Rennes, France. The attention for this subject was visible throughout the production chain.
With over 20 innovations with a focus on the reduction of pressure on the environment Space shows that the agro-ecological transition is already under way. Photo: Fabian Brockötter
Action and adaptation
At the forum Espace for the future, multiple experts and farmers shared their thoughts and experiences. The crucial issue of climate change, which will guide the future of agriculture at global and local levels. Climate change is already perceptible and will get worse if no action is taken. One striking example is Redon, in Ille-et-Vilaine, at the crossroads of Brittany and the Pays de Loire. An extrapolation of the Météo France weather data from this municipality shows that the median number of days with a temperature above 25°C could increase by 25 days by 2050 and by more than 54 days by 2100. The maximum could be 85 days in 2050 and 107 days in 2100. This would impact a number of factors, including temperatures, rainfall, frost, etc. Today, the key words are therefore action and adaptation.
Reducing environmental pressure
With over 20 innovations focusing on the reduction of pressure on the environment Space shows that the agro-ecological transition is already under way. Livestock farmers have made considerable efforts to change their practices, and this has already yielded results and set our agricultural model on the right path. French agriculture has been named the “Most Sustainable Model Worldwide” according to the food sustainability index published by ‘The Economist’. In terms of food loss and waste, nutritional challenges and sustainable agriculture, the criteria measured by the study, our farmers are clearly in the vanguard.
Despite the very strong commitment to working on these issues, farmers are still going through a period of uncertainty, doubt and discouragement following the successive, ongoing attacks they are subjected to. In addition to these difficulties, the projected negative impacts of the CETA and especially the MERCOSUR international free trade agreements are also weighing them down, aggravating the climate of uncertainty and fears for the future profitability of our sector. And yet, livestock farming is a truly 21st century sector that is constantly evolving, dedicated to feeding people while protecting the planet.
Agriculture is an essential source of solutions to address climate change. To illustrate how committed the profession is to combating climate change, the research firm ADQUATION conducted a survey on this subject amongst farmers. The study surveyed 302 French farmers. The main conclusions indicate that 87% of them are concerned by climate issues, including a third who say they are “very concerned”. Younger farmers are particularly involved in climate-friendly processes. The main actions taken to limit the impact of their activity on the climate are: improving feed efficiency (71%), reducing fuel consumption for travel and work (63%), soil carbon storage (more pastures, planting trees) (52%), reducing electrical energy consumption in livestock buildings (LED lighting, energy efficient ventilation) (46%), reducing fossil energy consumption (gas, fuel oil) in buildings (42%), producing renewable energy (21%).
Innovations at Space 2019
Using cameras and specialised artificial intelligence algorithms, Smart Tracking from Ro-Main tracks and analyses the position and behaviour of turkeys in real time. The cameras send video streams to the server, which analyses them and transposes them into behavioural metrics easily accessible via the web app. The system sends alerts when behavioural changes are detected in specific areas or by an animal, helping the farmer determine his priorities for action.
Terrena created the so called Perch up, a cardboard compostable perch for broilers. It enriches the environment of the animals and provides an outlet for the expression of a number of natural behaviours of the species: at two days of age chickens are using the Perch’up to not only perch, but to peck and scratch as well. Perch’up is designed for single use only, therefore no cleaning is necessary, and its service life corresponds to a production cycle, where at the end of the cycle it is removed and composted with droppings.
Idol 120 chill sensor
Ventilation specialist Skov displayed its Idol 120 chill sensor. The sensor can measure the experienced temperature for broilers in the house. The experienced temperature is a combination of the ambient temperature, the air speed and the age of the broilers. Traditionally, the chill effect on the animals has been based on measurements of temperature and in rare cases also air speed, but most often estimated air speed.
Sentinel Robot 2
Dussau distribution developed the automated straw dispenser Sentinel 2. It is a more evolved version of the earlier Sentinel robot and the first straw dispenser and monitoring device equipped with Artificial Intelligence. While its primary function is still to spread all types of bedding on all types of farms it also collects information via visual and heat sensors in order to establish diagnostics and optimize the spreading of bedding.