Livestock production in the European Union (EU) is a large economic sector and products of animal origin make up 45% (168 billion euro annually) of the EU agricultural production value, generating jobs for almost 30 million people. Due to the high impact of the livestock sector on GHG emissions, while also suffering from accelerating changes in climate trends, variability and extreme events’ occurrence, there is an increasing need to formulate management options meeting the challenges of both climate mitigation and adaptation, e.g., by adopting and/or scheduling farming practices that can be successful under the most likely climate scenarios for the future, or under as many scenarios as possible.
SEBASTIEN (Smarter livEstock Breeding through Advanced Services Tailoring Innovative and multi-sourcE data to users’ Needs) wishes to implement large-scale ICT-based (mainly Cloud but also HPC) services to support smart livestock farming and management (i.e., both environmentally and socio- economically sustainable), while reducing risks and taking opportunities posed by climate change and its variability, as well as by other concurrent environmental stressors and anthropogenic pressures.
30 months from 01/01/2022 to 30/06/2024
The main goal of the project SEBASTIEN is to deliver, in the form of a package of Services hosted in an open and interoperable web Portal, a Decision Support System (DSS) for a more efficient and (economically and environmentally) sustainable management, and consequent valuing, of the livestock sector in Italy and in particular cattle, sheep and goat breeding.
The DSS will address needs and priorities of different actors, from breeders and their associations, to assisting practitioners, researchers in the field, governments, market operators and entrepreneurs, and in particular SMEs, especially as downstream “intermediate” users of the produced information and tools and thus acting as purveyors of further services.
The coordinator Fondazione Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici (CMCC) provides multiple competencies ranging from the development of solutions for efficient access, analysis and mining of scientific data to data science and learning environments integrating workflow tools, machine/deep learning technologies as well as big data and analytics frameworks into HPC/cloud environments with special attention to climate change and its impacts. In SEBASTIEN, besides serving the ICT- based needs of other partners’ activities, CMCC will work on the regionalization of the climatic signal through bias-correction, spatial downscaling and temporal disaggregation of climate data including the uncertainty evaluation. This will in turn feed impacts evaluation for livestock farming environments and their interactions with natural and semi-natural ecosystems.
Huge amounts of data will be integrated and summarised into user-tailored information though different techniques, from empirical/statistical indicators to Machine Learning algorithms. Produced information will be accessed and exploited through a Platform of customized tools and services. The project will mainly build on environmental, sectoral, and other geospatial datasets available through existing European and Italian Open Data Portals, enriched with additional datasets. Among these, in situ sensors will allow measuring parameters related to animal body conditions. Historical and future climate simulations at unprecedented spatial detail over Italy will be combined into indicators on environmental comfort/wellbeing conditions, and satellite images will be integrated for multi-dimensional analyses of feed availability.
Extensive and intensive cattle, sheep and goats’ farming systems will be addressed. The DSS will alert about the expected occurrence of uncomfortable conditions for animals, due to abiotic (e.g., climate) and biotic (e.g., pests) factors, affecting their general behaviour, productivity (e.g., meat, milk), reproduction, mortality, as well as feed availability.
SEBASTIEN fully responds to the challenges and scope set out in the Work Programme “Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) – Telecommunications Sector”, under the call “Public Open Data” (POD).
The released Services’ Platform will contribute to making the livestock sector more environmentally (esp. climate) while also socio-economically sustainable and valuable, balancing needs and priorities of different stakeholders.
- Neatec s.p.a.
- Nature 4.0 Benefit Corporation Srl
- Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
- Università degli Studi della Tuscia
- Associazione Italiana Allevatori