Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) Technologies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Intensity of Pasture-based Cattle Systems


European cattle farmers are facing increased demand for pasture-based and environmentally friendly products. Although feeding strategies to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions have been studied intensively, strategies for grazing systems are under-researched. The lack of easy-to-implement technologies for methane measurement with grazing cattle complicates the necessary large-scale studies. GrASTech will develop an animal-mounted sensor platform for methane measurement in grazing cattle and validate using established techniques (Respiration chambers, LaserGun and Greenfeed). Additionally, herd productivity, which has a major impact on GHG emission intensity (per kg product), will be improved using a wide range of precision livestock farming technologies. All strategies will be evaluated using life cycle assessment in order to find net positive effects. GrASTech will provide important advances towards achieving the challenging goals of the climate action plan.

Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research, ILVO, Belgium 
Leen Vandaele

Project partners 
Institut de l'elevage, IDELE, France 
French National Institute for Agricultural Research and the Environment, INRAE, France 
Dairy Research Centre, SRUC, United Kingdom 
Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Strath, United Kingdom

Total requested funding 
974.000 €

Start-end date 
01.01.2020 - 31.12.2022

Project duration
36 months



In December 2019 GrASTech partners started exploring to what extent precision livestock farming (PLF) technologies can be used to map methane emissions of grazing cows and reduce those emissions by management interventions.
University of Strathclyde is developing a non-intrusive methane concentration measurement system for grazing ruminants. SRUC is reviewing literature to assess how PLF technologies impact technical efficiency/productivity of housed animals and how this can be translated to grazing animals. Implications on methane outputs of these PLF technologies are being investigated and modelled. ILVO is preparing its first grazing experiment in which enteric methane emission related to three feeding/grazing strategies will be compared. At INRAE, unfortunately, the grazing experiment had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. However, all methodologies and protocols are in place to be picked up next spring. At IDELE, a laser methane detector is being validated to ensure accurate measurements in grazing situations later on.