xFarm and Parmalat together to make the milk supply chain sustainable through digitalization
Parmalat and xFarm started a project that is among the first ones in Europe to allow farmers to manage and track dairy herds, their feeding plans, and livestock manure efficiently and sustainably.
Digitalization will enrich and strengthen the synergy between farmers and the other players in the milk supply chain, helping to make the sector more sustainable and greener.
Reducing the environmental impact, improving animal welfare and ensuring safe and high quality products through digitalization are at the core of an experimental project involving Parmalat, a company of the Lactalis group – leader in the dairy sector in Italy – , and xFarm Technologies, the tech company that has developed a digital platform to support farmers, and from today also livestock farmers, at every stage of production, have come together.
The collaboration germinated from shared values and one common intention: guaranteeing efficiency, sustainability and traceability of the milk production sector through the potential of digital technology.
“At xFarm, the mission is to improve the lives of millions of farmers through digitalization, consequently promoting a more sustainable agriculture. In particular, the project carried out together with Parmalat will allow us to make our skills available and gradually approach the milk supply chain to better intercept the needs of livestock companies and make them even more efficient. This first phase, in fact, allows us to test the platform and the related technology that will be later implemented on a larger scale – explains Matteo Vanotti, CEO of xFarm.
“Innovation is in our DNA, and with this project we have a triple purpose: to study pioneering practices in favor of animal welfare, to guarantee the consumer a product that is increasingly in line with the demand for sustainability and to lay the foundations for an increasingly evolved and technologically advanced profession – says Maurizio Bassani, General Manager of Parmalat – Together with xFarm, we will be able to simplify and make available data related to the main parameters useful to understand how animals are fed, how animal feedstock is produced, how the digestive process and manure management take place. Knowing the farms of our suppliers is the first step to compare and share best management practices to reduce their environmental impact”.
Livestock 4.0, the five-year pilot project
Feedstock and manure production are the two main elements contributing to the carbon footprint of the barn. The project therefore aims to work towards the reduction of the carbon footprint through technology acquisition and management data comparison.
The pilot project with Parmalat is starting in June 2022 and will last 5 years. In the first phase, 47 farms belonging to three different supply chains distributed over different areas of the Italian territory will be involved. The Aqua supply chain and the Bio supply chain (32 farms located in Friuli-Venezia Giulia which supply milk for Montasio DOP, fresh milk and organic milk), the Organic Parmigiano Reggiano chain (7 farms located in Parma) and the BIO chain (8 organic farms in the province of Rome) will be the first ones to be involved.
For this project, xFarm is introducing in its digital platform a new specific functionality for livestock management that will allow users to control feeding plans through an automatic compilation system that will collect information on the composition and quantity of the rations administered, the management of the herd on the basis of the characteristics of the cows and the traceability in view of the sustainability of the supply chain thanks to technologically advanced sensors and the use of different IoT instruments** installed inside the stables.
How will all this happen? By directly involving the entire supply chain and with a specific training course for livestock managers. The project will firstly be presented to farmers through a series of meetings organized by Parmalat and by the supply chain managers, with the support of xFarm. Secondly, specific training sessions to introduce xFarm and the main functions of the tool and follow-up activities with farmers will be carried out.
After the experimental phase, the project foresees the monitoring of 100 farms in a first phase, up to the point of tracing all 400 farms among those who deliver milk to the various Parmalat factories throughout Italy, with the aim of enriching the traceability of products and increasingly guarantee transparency of raw materials origin to consumers, thus making them growingly aware of their purchases.