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Enhancing farm productivity and guaranteeing CATTLE traceability and welfare with blockCHAIN

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - CATTLECHAIN 4.0 (Enhancing farm productivity and guaranteeing CATTLE traceability and welfare with blockCHAIN)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2021-04-01 al 2022-03-31

The European livestock sector is facing a set of complex challenges that require urgent action regarding:
• Cost-efficiency. Nowadays almost 50% of livestock farms in Europe (equivalent to 5.5 M farms) are not self-sufficient and rely on public subsidies1. Besides, the income perceived by farmers is 60% lower than the average income in non-agricultural sectors.
• Aging and rural depopulation. 55% of the European farms are managed by farmers over 55 years, while only 6% of the farms are managed by farmers under 35 years. Moreover, although the EU population will increase by 24.1 million by 2050, the population in rural areas is projected to fall by 7.9 million.
• Consumers’ demands5. Due to recent scandals (bovine spongiform encephalopathy, horse meat scandals) as well as an overall increasing environmental and animal welfare awareness among the European population, consumers are demanding more and more information regarding food quality and safety, and traceability. Thus, farmers have to implement manual time-consuming tracking systems to provide full guarantee to retailers and consumers, especially when offering a premium product (local breeds, organic, region certification).
In this context, the European livestock sector needs innovative tools to be more competitive in terms of productivity and efficiency and to assure transparency along the supply chain. This would lighten the economic burden that it poses over the EU budget, foster the entry of young people to the sector and ease farmers’ management practices.

Besides the benefits for the farmers, the project generates non-economic benefits for society such as:
- Reduction of antibiotics use in livestock
- Contribute to balancing family and professional life in animal farming
- Better living conditions for farmed animals
- Avoid fraud and consumer mistrust of EU products
- Enabling transparent transactions

To overcome the EU livestock sector challenges and to democratize the access to smart technologies by livestock farmers, we have developed CATTLECHAIN 4.0 a disruptive solution to increase farm productivity and sustainability while promoting animal welfare. CATTLECHAIN 4.0 has developed and implemented a complete monitoring solution for cattle based on IoT wearables, Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms, FIWARE, Sentinel satellite imagery, and blockchain technologies. It provides farmers with digested and relevant information on their animal status (health, location, feeding, and reproductive condition) while providing retailers and consumers with full traceability on the dairy/meat product they are selling/purchasing.
Throughout the project, a technological solution has been developed to improve the profitability of beef farms, improve animal health and welfare and increase transparency in the meat products that reach the end consumer. In detail, it has to be said that:

- WP1: Self-certifying animal welfare indicators were developed based on automatic information collected by IoT devices. Thanks to these indicators, good animal health and welfare conditions can be guaranteed. These indicators were developed for both dairy cows and beef cattle (breeding and fattening). Indicators were also defined that would be made available to end consumers via QR codes on meat/dairy products.

- WP2: IoT devices have been developed and improved for monitoring different variables of the animals and the environments they inhabit. In this way, different versions of electronic-ear tags have been developed that act as a simple beacon to collect activity and location data. In the same way, communication gateways such as smart scales and sensors for monitoring transport conditions have been developed. Finally, improved gateways, IoT collars, have been developed that communicate with ear-tags. At the end of the project, a wide range of smart IoT devices are available to monitor everything from the animal's location to its growth rate in the feedlot.

- WP3: A multitude of algorithms have been developed within the project that allows animal monitoring with the aim of improving the profitability of livestock farms and animal welfare. The algorithms developed have been classified into different typologies depending on the aspect to be monitored. In this way, algorithms have been developed to monitor the state of the pasture in plots to make recommendations to reduce feed costs, algorithms have been developed for the early detection of health problems in fattening animals, algorithms for the detection of reproductive events to increase the production rate of livestock, etc. All these algorithms have been developed by SENSO in collaboration with the other partners FIWARE and IDELE. The algorithms take the information from the devices developed in WP2 and from open data sources and generate the results in the data structures in WP4. The degree of satisfaction of the farmers participating in the project with the results of the developed algorithms has been high.

- WP4: Development of an interoperable FIWARE-based platform with Blockchain traceability capabilities thanks to its integration with the Alastria network.

- WP5: Development of multi-device apps so that all the target agents of the project (farmers, associations, consumers and public administrations) can access and interact with the tools and utilities of the tool.

- WP6: Throughout this work package, pilots have been deployed to monitor more than 5000 animals. Millions of data from devices and handheld labels have been collected and used for the development of the WP3 algorithms. Training courses with farmers, dissemination activities, etc. have been carried out.

- WP7: Digital and face-to-face communication and dissemination activities of the objective results to the target audience in order to maximise interest in the solutions and facilitate marketing actions.

- WP8: Technical and economic management of the project, evaluation of objectives and scope, risk management, quality monitoring, realisation of deliverables, economic justification.

To disseminate and communicate the results of the project, a 360º strategy has been designed and implemented, ranging from digital marketing to presenting at events and fairs, meetings with livestock farmers, publications in physical media, etc. Within the project, the project's social media channels have been established with a high impact (FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube...) where the appropriate content has been generated for the target audience. We have been present and have organized fairs and events to communicate in person the benefits of animal monitoring to increase the profitability of livestock farming. This dissemination strategy has placed us, at the end of the project, in an advantageous scenario for the commercialization of the project results.
The results at the end of the project have been:
- New generation of IoT wearables to monitor animal conditions that improve farm profitability.
- Apps and utilities to improve farm management.
- IoT traceability from Farm to fork to connect consumers with farmers through Blockchain
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