Precision Livestock Farming: What Does It Contain and What are the Perspectives?

Joachim Lübbo Kleen 1,* and Raphaël Guatteo 2

1 CowConsult, Coldinnerstr. 65, D-26532 Grossheide, Germany

2 Oniris, INRAE BIOEPAR, 101 Route de Gachet, F-44300 Nantes, France

Correspondence:; Tel.: +49-177-4432186

Simple Summary: Digital tools are becoming increasingly important in livestock farming. The
impact of digitalization appears to be best documented in dairy cattle husbandry. Precision Livestock
Farming (PLF) is a term that encompasses sensors for the capture of biological information, algorithms
processing the information and interfaces that allow for making use of these data. PLF is expected
to optimize animal production, health and welfare. PLF provides an enormous amount of animal
information that can be used in various ways. While some systems, e.g., estrus detection systems,
are already extensively used, other systems await practical application. PLF may allow for progress
in animal health, production, and welfare. However, so far there is little scientific evidence that
application of PLF does actually have an effect. It is to be expected that PLF will alter the animal–
human relationship and will have a substantial impact on veterinary practice.

Abstract: Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) describes the combined use of sensor technology, the
related algorithms, interfaces, and applications in animal husbandry. PLF technology is used in all
animal production systems and most extensively described in dairy farming. PLF is developing
rapidly and is moving beyond health alarms towards an integrated decision-making system. It
includes animal sensor and production data but also external data. Various applications have been
proposed or are available commercially, only a part of which has been evaluated scientifically; the
actual impact on animal health, production and welfare therefore remains largely unknown. Although
some technology has been widely implemented (e.g., estrus detection and calving detection), other
systems are adopted more slowly. PLF offers opportunities for the dairy sector through early disease
detection, capturing animal-related information more objectively and consistently, predicting risks for
animal health and welfare, increasing the efficiency of animal production and objectively determining
animal affective states. Risks of increasing PLF usage include the dependency on the technology,
changes in the human–animal relationship and changes in the public perception of dairy farming.
Veterinarians will be highly affected by PLF in their professional life; they nevertheless must adapt to
this and play an active role in further development of technology

Source : Animals 2023, 13, 779.

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