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Ökologischer Betrieb
© BLE, Bonn/Thomas Stephan
Ökologischer Betrieb
Institute of

BW Farm Economics


Housing and husbandry systems of the future

Barn and housing systems of the future
© Philipp Hölscher und Sebastian Skupski
Barn and housing systems of the future

Housing and husbandry systems of the future - profitable, animal-friendly and environmentally friendly

None of today's widespread systems in use are convincing in
all parameters. There are major differences between the systems in terms of animal welfare, re-source efficiency, production costs and profitability. Digitalisation can help to improve existing processes or to
develop completely new systems.

The project "Stable and housing systems of the future" is an in-house project for the development of innovative, automated and sustainable stable systems in livestock farming.

Background and Objective

A future-proof system that is sustainable and meets societal expectations will not emerge by itself, but only if many individual activities are orchestrated. The scientific part of the project requires technological, animal-related and business management expertise.

The aim of the project is to develop, test and analyse economically barn systems for future livestock farming (pigs, poultry, cattle), taking particular account of the following aspects:

  • Improvement of animal welfare
  • Reduction of negative environmental impacts
  • Profitability
  • Increasing consumer acceptance.

Projects are already underway in the poultry (InnoChick, PID 2195) and pig (Barn of the Future, PID 2072) sectors. Key elements for achieving the objectives are increasing the space available per animal, creating structured functional areas with climate zones and outdoor climate access, digitalisation and automation of production processes, and the use of organic occupational material. Nutrient management is to be optimised through adapted feeding and emission-reducing technology. In order for the target images of new husbandry systems to have a chance of social acceptance, unavoidable conflicts of objectives (e.g. between resource efficiency and animal welfare) should be created with the greates possible transparency und should be addressed early and communicated professionally. The joint project "SocialLab" led by the Thünen Institute could contribute to this.


1) Analysis and evaluation of existing systems.

2) Technical development of an innovative housing system taking into account:
- Sustainability (esp. animal welfare, ecology (soil protection & nutrient cycle))
- Possibility of integration into crop rotations- Miniaturisation - Digitalisation
- Autonomisation
- Mobile system - Modular system - Autonomous system

3) Economic analysis: Total cost analysis, comparison with already established housing systems.

4) Economic and technical optimisation, prototype model construction.

5) On-farm testing.


Data and Methods


Technical creation of a prototype according to the target image.

Data/price survey.

Full cost analysis.

Our Research Questions

Comparison of performance parameters and economic efficiency compared to the reference method.

Effect on nutrient yields compared to the reference method.

Preliminary Results

Results wil be presented in the individual projects mentioned as soon as they are available.


Permanent task 6.2019

More Information

Project status: ongoing

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