Precision farming in crop and livestock production

Photo: ATB

What will cattle husbandry look like in the future?

Relaxed lying cow in the dairy barn (Photo: ATB)

Relaxed living in the dairy barn (Photo: ATB)

In the InnoRind project, ATB together with other German partners is developing innovative approaches for the cattle husbandry of tomorrow. 

Since May this year, the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) has been funding the joint project "InnoRind - sustainable cattle farming in Germany, taking into account animal welfare, environmental impacts and social acceptance". The project bundles competences in a Germany-wide innovation network for cattle farming. The task is to determine the status quo of German cattle farming in order to identify improvement potentials and to implement improvement measures on experimental farms. The focus is, among other things, on the rearing of calves and young cattle and the husbandry of fattening and dairy cattle.

The ten project partners and their experimental farms will design innovative husbandry and management concepts for calves, fattening and dairy cattle that can improve animal welfare on numerous cattle farms in Germany. At the same time, there is a focus on reducing emissions as well as on social acceptance of the measures. "Only if the consumer is taken on board can we make cattle farming sustainable and competitive for the decades to come," says Nadine Schnipkoweit, coordinator of the project, Institute for Animal Breeding and Husbandry at Christian Albrechts University in Kiel (CAU).

The main topics of the planned innovation network include cow-linked calf rearing, in which the calves are not separated from the cows. New ways of marketing pure-bred male calves are also on the agenda. On specialised dairy farms, rearing options are limited and as the demand for beef declines, fattening farms prefer calves from breeds whose breeding is more focused on beef performance characteristics. This results in lower revenues for pure-bred calves from dairy breeds.

At the ATB, measures for the management of cattle for fattening are primarily developed. The ATB chairs the working group "Heat Stress / Barn Climate" and participates in three other working groups (dairy cows/cooked cattle, fattening, animal welfare planning/management concepts). In the first phase of the project, the aim is to identify innovation potentials in the areas of animal welfare and environmental impact and to test the specific requirements for practical use on farms.

About InnoRind

For the project duration of six months, BMEL is providing approx. 300,000 Euros for the ten project partners. In addition, ten experimental farms are involved, which largely represent the main regions of cattle farming in Germany. 

Partner: 

  • Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel (CAU) - Coordination
  • Georg-August-Universität Göttingen (UniGö)
  • Hochschule Rhein-Waal (HSRW)
  • Bayerische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft (LfL)
  • Landesforschungsanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Fischerei Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (LFA MV)
  • Landwirtschaftskammer Nordrhein-Westfalen (LK NRW)
  • Landwirtschaftskammer Schleswig-Holstein (LK SH)
  • Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik und Bioökonomie (ATB) e.V.
  • Thünen-Institut für Ökologischen Landbau (TI-OL)
  • Thünen-Institut für Betriebswirtschaft (TI-BW)

Contact ATB: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Thomas Amon