On 21.02.2019, PRIA approved digitalisation action plan of Estonian Dairy Cluster. The ideas behind it have been collected in the course of performing former cluster activities. Term for implementing innovation projects is 48 months.
Activities are divided into two major themes:
Dairy farming is a strategic area in Estonia, made possible by excellent climatic conditions and many other prerequisites. Increasingly intensified production conditions have caused reduced longevity and reproduction of cows, which indicates the need for systemic approach to issues of animal health and nutrition. Special attention should be paid to the health of young stock. Growing labour shortage creates tensions in animal farming. Extensive deployment and development of digital tools represents one possible way for finding solutions. In order to implement the potential, it is necessary to create an automated solution for collection and sharing of health data for dairy farmers and use the combination of these and other data in supply chain.
The most important objective of the action plan consists in finding new solutions to problems arising from increasing labour shortage. Digital solutions in dairy production are expected to allow Estonian dairy products to stand out and distinguish from the products of our competitors in the future. That will hopefully increase the number of more expensive dairy products sold by industries. After all, one of the priorities of the Dairy Cluster is to facilitate the export capacity of the sector.
Implementation of collecting health data is an important step towards the development of precision farming technologies. Based on health data of the animals, we can draw conclusions regarding both an individual animal, herd and entire dairy sector (big data). Resulting big data system has a huge future potential, because transferring and automated processing of health data of individual animals essentially allows creating electronic health passport of a bovine animal. Second phase applications include automated herd-specific and population-specific information management and interactions with private sector organisations and public agencies (e-PRIA; Veterinary Supervision, Animal Recording Centre, etc). Resulting savings and new business opportunities derived from compilation and exchange of data can definitely be measured in millions of euros, not to mention providing a solution in a situation, where some things cannot be done due to labour shortage.
The activities of Estonian Dairy Cluster are supported under measures 16.0, 16.1 and 16.2 of the Estonian Rural Development Plan 2014–2020.