The Zootecniche Cremona International Exhibition returns to CremonaFiere on 1 to 3 December 2022.
Cremona, 23 November 2022 – Animal welfare, environmental impact, limiting energy costs, quality of production, economic competitiveness: how can these competing demands be reconciled by livestock farmers, while they themselves are asking for solutions from researchers and technical services?
Any response must be articulated and precisely focussed on each aspect, but one red line runs through them all: innovation.
This will be the key concept at the 77th Zootecniche Cremona International Exhibition, at CremonaFiere from 1 to 3 December, with over 650 animals on show, a wide-ranging, highly qualified exhibition of products and services, and a programme of more than 60 conferences and presentations.
“In 2022,” says Fabio Abeni, researcher for CREA, member of the exhibition’s Technical Scientific Committee and speaker at numerous conferences and meetings, “innovation means digitalising data and information flows to implement a precision approach to animal husbandry.” This is also supported by the sensors and automation currently available for cowsheds, which will be on show at the December exhibition.
“Nowadays,” he continues, “we are able to intervene with innovative measures in a variety of areas of feeding, from young heifers to lactating cows, thanks to technologies which enable us to acquire a vast range of information and automate many aspects of the process.”
This run from real time analysis of feed (generally using the NIR technique) to automated preparation and distribution, at different times of the day, of both the unifeed mixture and the fluid feed for heifers (which also enables verification of how much and when the individual animal eats, thus enabling targeted weaning for each of them).
“The impact of better monitoring and optimising this process cannot be understated,” says Abeni, “especially when one considers that feed is the major cost item in the production of cow’s milk.” In addition, the proper management of feeding, together with the environment in the shed itself, is foundational to the welfare and health of the animals.
As for the shed environment, innovative technologies nowadays enable a precise monitoring of microclimatic conditions (especially temperature, humidity and unwanted airborne gas), a particularly critical consideration in the summer, and increasingly efficient air handling systems are now available to improve them.
Milking, thanks to the technology associated with it, is now not only a process subject to automation (thus also improving the quality of life of workers and often promoting generational exchange), but has also become an important source of information about the health of the cows’ udders and the cow herself, as well as the quality of the milk.
“These data,” Abeni concludes, “also support our ability to prevent a number of metabolic disorders and pathologies; this means that we can reduce the use of drugs, increase the productive life of the animals (and hence reduce their environmental impact) and improve the efficiency of the business as a whole.” As the history of progress in agriculture and animal husbandry teach, there is no one solution for all farms; there are specific solutions for each situation, also because innovation is a not a zero-cost issue for farming businesses.
“Research, technical service and good business sense go hand in hand in determining the utility of any innovation on the farm. This is why an event like the Cremona exhibition, which has always been an occasion for learning about new developments, exchanging ideas, and getting an overall view of the market, is so important. It constitutes a genuine think tank for the animal husbandry industry.”