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Review: Environmental impact of livestock farming and Precision Livestock Farming as a mitigation strategy

Tullo, Emanuela, Finzi, Alberto, Guarino, Marcella
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.650 pp. 2751-2760
air, ammonia, animal production, antibiotics, engineering, environmental impact, farms, greenhouse gases, heavy metals, livestock, livestock farming, models, nitrates, phosphorus, pollution, precision agriculture, soil, surface water
This paper reviews the environmental impact of current livestock practices and discusses the advantages offered by Precision Livestock Farming (PLF), as a potential strategy to mitigate environmental risks.PLF is defined as: “the application of process engineering principles and techniques to livestock farming to automatically monitor, model and manage animal production”. The primary goal of PLF is to make livestock farming more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable and this can be obtained through the observation, interpretation of behaviours and, if possible, individual control of animals. Furthermore, adopting PLF to support management strategies, may lead to the reduction of the environmental impact of farms. Currently, few studies reported PLF efficacy in reducing the environmental impact, however further studies are necessary to better analyze the actual potential of PLF as a mitigation strategy.Literature shows the potentiality of the application of PLF, as the introduction of PLF in farms can lead to a reduction of Greenhouse gases (GHG) and ammonia (NH3) emission in air, nitrates and antibiotics pollution in water bodies, phosphorus, antibiotics and heavy metals in the soil.