Animal husbandry

Cow with heart rate monitor (Photo: ATB)

Animal husbandry plays a pivotal role in a knowledge-based bioeconomy as it produces high-quality food from plant biomass, allows for the cascading use of organic biomass and closes nutrient cycles. The livestock sector has to develop concepts that integrate the three pillars of sustainability: environment, society and economy. This partly involves trade-offs between the different dimensions of sustainability, and conflicts of interest between stakeholders can arise. While the relevance of animal welfare and environmental protection within our social values is growing, agricultural innovation also has to consider economic constraints and commercial risks for farmers to overcome potential implementation barriers. 

We therefore target our research in animal husbandry at the improvement of animal welfare, the reduction of negative environmental impacts, as well as on sustaining economic competitiveness. Our research covers the range from basic to applied research. Our central aims are: objective animal welfare standards, concepts for solving sustainability trade-offs, transparent processes in animal husbandry, consumer acceptance and regional added value.

Field of work "Optimised Milking"

  • What pressure is applied to the teat tissue during milking?
  • How accurate can a quarter-individual milk meter measure milk flow and ingredients? Can it be used to control milking systems?
  • What strength is required to hold a milking cup without negative pressure on the teat?
  • Does a quarter-individual milking system improve udder health and tissue status?


Field of work "Animal welfare and livestock husbandry systems"

  • What are the risk factors resulting from climate change for the livestock sector and how does heat stress affect vitality, behavior and performance of animals?
  • How can vitality, performance and health parameters be assessed in an animal-specific and objective manner?
  • What are possible adaptation strategies for livestock housing?


Field of work "Barn climate and emissions"

  • Which emission flows (currently: gases that are harmful to the environment and the climate; in the future: dusts, pathogens) occur in livestock production systems? What is their distribution and speed of movement in the environment? How can they be influenced?
  • Which flow patterns and air exchange rates characterize the barn? How are flows influenced by climate, animal activity and livestock housing? What are the effects on the barn climate? How are gases, dusts and pathogens dispersed within the barn?
  • What are the mitigation potentials for greenhouse and other harmful gases and pathogens and how can they be realized in practice? 
  • How can the barn climate be optimized by intelligent ventilation systems?



System approach to livestock production (figure: ATB)
Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik und Bioökonomie e.V.
Max-Eyth-Allee 100 · 14469 Potsdam · Germany
Tel. +49 (0)331 5699 0 · E-mail