Skip to main content
[Translate to English:]
[Translate to English:]
Institute of

OF Organic Farming


Small robots for smart organic farming

Zuflug Habicht
© Thünen-Institut/OL
Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) approach to chicken run

Small robots for smart organic farming

The joint project aims at innovations through robot support in the management of organic farms, e.g. in the protection of poultry from birds of prey, in grassland management and in weed control.

Background and Objective

Organic farming is very labour-intensive – especially for smaller farms. To maintain the regional diversity of smaller farms, it is necessary to develop individually adaptable technical solutions that replace human work steps. However, this is not currently happening because modern technical solutions based on artificial intelligence and/or robotics are usually only thought up for large farms and often require a very high investment volume. However, with the comparatively large number of small and micro enterprises, there is also an enormous overall potential for digitalisation, which must, however, be adaptable to individual circumstances.

In the joint project, the University of Lübeck and the company IDE Automation are further developing a robot platform as a carrier for various agricultural applications. Application scenarios are autonomous monitoring, of the segetal flora, protection against birds of prey in poultry farming and, more general, generic robot behaviour for precision farming.

In the joint project, the Thünen-Institute of Organic Farming provides support in the selection of relevant practical applications and data collection on farms. A focus is on the detection and deterrence of birds of prey in poultry outdoor runs. Furthermore, application scenarios for pasture management are introduced (fence control, yield recording).


On organic and conventional farms, film recordings are made to analyse behaviour of birds of prey when attacking poultry in outdoor runs. The records are used for the development of an automatic detection. Scaring methods are researched and used as a basis for technical developments. Further possible applications for small robots in organic farming are being discussed with the project partners, possible agricultural solutions are being identified and development steps are being accompanied.

Project partners are:

  • University of Lübeck, Institute for Robotics and Cognitive Systems (Project lead)
  • University of Lübeck, Institute of Computer Engineering
  • University of Lübeck, Institute for Electrical Engineering in Medicine
  • IDE·Automation GmbH, Lübeck
  • Thünen-Institute of Organic Farming, Westerau
  • Farm Hofgemeinschaft Rothenhausen
  • Farm Hof Rath, Zarpen

Goshawk an attempted attack on a flock of chickens and the behaviour of crows

Funding Body

  • Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE)
    (national, öffentlich)


10.2021 - 9.2024

More Information

Project funding number: 28DK133B20
Project status: ongoing

Scroll to top