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Innovations hoped for in dairy farming

As part of the current Agrifuture Insights study conducted from November 2023 to the beginning of January 2024, participants were asked for their assessment of expected innovations in dairy farming. The current “Chart of the Month” from DLG-Agrifuture Insights provides an overview.

The evaluation included responses from 505 people, 262 of whom were from Germany and 243 from abroad. The respondents included 209 dairy farmers, 167 representatives from industry, trade and processing as well as 85 scientists and consultants.

The participants placed the greatest hopes on innovations to improve animal health. This leads to both greater animal welfare and improved cow performance and therefore also offers economic benefits.

Chart of the Month

Another ongoing issue in dairy farming is greater efficiency in the supply of coarse feed. This is confirmed by the survey, in which all industry stakeholders hope for innovations in this area.

When it comes to reducing the use of antibiotics, there is probably still potential in the area of dry cows. Instead of a preventive general administration of antibiotics, it is assumed that in future the cell content of each udder quarter will be checked and thus antibiotics will only have to be administered in a targeted manner in those udder quarters where this is necessary.

In terms of data management, the main hope is for improvements and innovations in terms of connectivity. There are already very good sensor technologies in dairy farming, but there is a lack of communication between the still diverse isolated solutions.

Farmers (1.92) consider innovations in breeding progress to be more important than science, advice (2.09) and industry (2.13). This presumably does not relate to milk yield, where breeding progress is very advanced. There is probably more potential here in terms of longevity and hoof health. Another current topic is the dehorning of calves. Due to new legal regulations, this is in Germany now only permitted with sedation, which has significantly increased both the effort and costs involved. Genetically hornless dairy cows are possible, but this trait is not yet established in the field, which is why farmers may value the potential of breeding more highly than other stakeholders.

In addition, the scientific community still sees opportunities for improvements in work organization and efficiency.

DLG-Agrifuture Insights – a comprehensive view on agricultural development

DLG-Agrifuture Insights is the DLG knowledge brand and platform for international trend analyses in the agricultural sector. It examines the business environment in agriculture in Germany and worldwide. For this purpose, farmers and people from agribusiness, science and consulting are surveyed annually on their assessments of the economic situation and development of agricultural businesses, as well as on technology trends and innovations in the individual business sectors. A total of 3,336 people took part in the current survey in winter 2023/24, around 1,300 of them from abroad.