Skip to main content

Enhancing farm productivity and guaranteeing CATTLE traceability and welfare with blockCHAIN

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CATTLECHAIN 4.0 (Enhancing farm productivity and guaranteeing CATTLE traceability and welfare with blockCHAIN)

Reporting period: 2020-04-01 to 2021-03-31

What is the problem/issue being addressed?
Analysis of the Direct Payment Scheme and farm incomes by DG-AGRI shows that on average about 50 % of the European livestock farms are reliant on subsidies. Currently, precision farming is only profitable for big farms and the investment is always difficult to pay back. Besides, there is an increasing demand for more information on food quality and safety, and traceability. Thus, the EU livestock sector is in need of innovative tools to (i) increase its efficiency and become an attractive activity for the younger generations and (ii) assure full transparency and traceability along the supply chain.

Why is it important for society?
The European livestock sector has several constraints relating to business development, like cost efficiency, aging, and rural depopulation, and demanding consumers.
Overall, improving and modernizing farm must cover these three challenges and this project focus its work in achieving them. From one side, the project will create a solution to enable farm management to increase cattle farm productivity and welfare. Thereby this new technology facilities can be very attractive for new farmers generation. At the same time, the project will provide a tool for keeping consumers informed, which can be used to understand and cover their demands. The potential CattleChain tool is designed to keep the food chain closer from consumers to producers, assuring quality, safety and becoming a new way to work in traceability.
On a smaller scale, the project will boost the growth of the two industries involved, firstly of the coordinator, SensoWave a tech startup that will exponentially increase its turnover, and secondly of NATRUS, a company specialized in premium hamburgers, which will gain a competitive advantage by being able to completely trace back their products.

What are the overall objectives?
The general objective is to enhance farm productivity and guaranteeing cattle traceability and welfare with blockchain.
In this context, CATTLECHAIN 4.0 project aims to develop an integrated smart solution to support the EU livestock sector. By recording different parameters from the cows with IoT wearables, and analyzing this data with Artificial Intelligence algorithms, farmers get a decision support tool about their farm condition, so they can take immediate action if any issue arises and prevent losses/health issues improving their farm efficiency and herd welfare. Throw the platform, they would be able to assess their animal’s state. All this potential information, is interesting for improving farm efficiency and guaranteeing data inviolability under audits or certifications. Besides, by aggregating the data from multiple cows and farms in a blockchain-based cloud platform, consumers and public authorities can access a traceability tool with truthful and secure data about the meat/dairy supply chain. Finally, aligned with consumers’ demands and thanks to the information gathered by the IoT wearables, an Animal Welfare Seal will be created that guarantees that the meat and dairy products meet the highest animal welfare standards.
Throughout the first two years of the project, progress has been made in the technological development of the project's IoT devices. In these first two years, WP1 has been completed regarding the adaptation of the animal welfare criteria taking into account the technology present in the project; as well as WP2 whose objective was the development of a new generation of IoT devices that allow monitoring all types of cattle farming regardless of their productive purpose. Thanks to the developments made, it has been possible to monitor more than 3000 animals by the second year of the project within the WP6 experimentation and testing WP6. Thanks to the data collected, different algorithms are being developed within WP3 that allow the detection of events that improve the health, welfare, and profit of livestock farms.

In the same way, cloud infrastructure with blockchain functionalities capable of storing and managing the information (WP4) has been deployed throughout the two years of the project. Finally, from the technical point of view, it is worth highlighting the development of user interfaces (WP5) that allow the different agents to visualize and interact with the solution.

From the point of view of dissemination and exploitation (WP7) the project has been able to adapt to COVID's situation by carrying out most of its activities through digital media (web, social networks, etc.).
CattleChain aims to implement for the very first time blockchain technology in the meat and milk European supply chain, where the data comes directly from the IoT devices, in order to provide full traceability and transparency along it.
For that the expected results are:
- New IoT sensor devices improving the market price, proposing a combination of methods to deliver a cost-effective solution to the livestock sector.
- Improve the AI technology for new applications.
- IoT traceability from Farm to fork to connect consumers with farmers through Blockchain
This project will support allow the scale-up rapidly at European and global levels for SensoWave (a tech start-up and the IPR owner) will boost its growth thanks to the commercialisation of the solutions.
Also, to contribute positively to EU by making the animal farming sector more efficient and competitive at global level.
Promoting and open innovation working on FIWARE, open source technologies, enhancing the innovation capacity of the whole smart farming sector.
This project has a clear positive societal impact at EU level. Among other, we will contribute to foster transparency in the food supply chain, to ensure the compliance with EU Regulation in terms of animal welfare and to decrease the level of antibiotics used in animal husbandry, Smart farming can be referred to as a new era in agriculture and farming, which will be characterised by the use of the IoT. The application of Big Data and artificial intelligence (AI) techniques and methods for the processing and analysis of IoT data has been experiencing a great growth over the last 5 years29. Although research has identified livestock sector to be one of the most relevant IoT sectors, its use is still incipient.