Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems
Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems

Precision livestock feeding, principle and practice

Pomar C., van Milgen J., Remus A.
Publication date: 
16 July 2019
Full title: 
Precision livestock feeding, principle and practice
Publishing information: 
In: Poultry and pig nutrition: Challenges of the 21st century, Hendriks et al. (eds), Wageningen Academic Publishers, 397-418
  • Precision livestock farming (PLF) is proposed to the livestock industry as an essential tool to enhance sustainability and competitiveness 
  • Precision livestock feeding) is part of PLF and can have a great impact in livestock profitability due the ability of feeding pigs with diets tailored daily to their nutrient requirements.
  • Precision livestock feeding can decrease livestock environmental impacts by optimizing the use of dietary nutrients and animal nutrient utilization efficiency which results in less nutrient excretion. 
  • Mathematical models developed for precision livestock feeding must be designed to operate in real-time using system measurements. These models are structurally different from traditional nutrition models.
  • The success of PLF is dependent on the precision livestock feeding integration into the system, as well, the adaptability and training of the farmers to use PLF systems.

Precision livestock farming (PLF) is an innovative production system approach based on intensive and integrated use of advances in animal sciences and technology of information to automatically and continuously monitor and control farm processes. The use of PLF can help farmers to improve management tasks such as monitoring of animal performance and health, and optimization of feeding strategies. An important component of PLF is precision livestock feeding, which consists in providing in real-time to individuals or group of animals with the amount of nutrients that maximizes nutrient utilization without loss of performance. The use of precision livestock feeding can decrease protein intake by 25%, nitrogen excretion into the environment by 40%, while increasing profitability by nearly 10%. The success of the development of PLF and precision livestock feeding depends on the automatic and continuous collection of data, data processing and interpretation, and the control of farm processes. The advancement of precision livestock feeding requires the development of new nutritional concepts and mathematical models able to estimate individual animal nutrient requirements in real-time. Further advances for these technologies will require the coordination of different experts (e.g., nutritionists, researchers, engineers, technology suppliers, economists, farmers, and consumers) and stakeholders. For the adoption of PLF and precision livestock feeding the development of integrated user-friendly systems and the end-user training is imperative. The development of PLF will not just be a question of technology, but a successful marriage between knowledge and technology in which improved and intelligent mathematical models will be essential components.

Keywords; Precision livestock farming, farm management, automatization, modern livestock production, nutrition 

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