Research outputs

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Main research question/goal
Sensor technology in dairy cattle: what is the current best practice, and how can dairy farmers implement it on their farm? That was the practical starting point of the European thematic network ‘4D4F’, which stands for Data Driven Dairy Decision For Farmers. 4D4F united 16 different businesses, organizations and research institutes, including ILVO, from across Europe. Their goal was to bridge the ‘innovation gap’ that exists between dairy farmers and technology developers, in order to improve the collection and implementation of data from animal and environmental sensors. Dairy farmers should be able to make well-informed management decisions based on the dairy data that is currently available. The 4D4F network cooperated with EIP Agri and existing EIP operational groups working on precision dairy farming in different Member States.

Research approach
Within the 4D4F network, we have created create a ‘community of practice’ for dairy farmers, veterinarians, agricultural advisors, technology providers and researchers. Different approaches are discussed within the community to reach a consensus on “the best practice” for using sensor technology in dairy farming. Discussions were promoted through the website ( and at various workshops and events.

Effective and clear communication was key for 4D4F. The target public was dairy farmers, veterinarians, farm visitors, technology firms and data companies. The network delivered and distributed best practice guides, data analysis tools, videos, infographics and a “Technology Warehouse" of dairy sensors and technology. We expect that the standard operating procedures (SOPs) created within the community will support European dairy farmers in their daily management decisions.

External partner(s)
Delaval International AB
Eesti Maaülikool
Innovation for Agriculture
Institute for Food and Agricultural Research and Technology
Knowledge innovation marke S.L.U.
KU Leuven - M3 Biores
Latvian Academy of Sciences
Paragon Europe
Porphyrio NV
The Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry
University of Agronomic Science and Veterinary Medicine of Bucharest
Van Hann Larenstein University of Applied Science
Wim Govaerts&Co CVBA
Zuidelijke Land and Tuinbouw Organisatie
Effective start/end date1/03/1628/02/19

ID: 4459206