“The world of animal breeding must not miss the turn towards responsible use of data”

Published on 05.03.2021

3 questions to Bernard Malabirade, breeder and president of Allice (union of livestock cooperatives) :

Allice supported the deployment of the second version of the API-Agro data exchange platform in 2019 and now supports Agdatahub, the company that operates it. Why are Agdatahub’s solutions important to Allice?

At Allice, we consider raw data to be a cost! But, depending on the objective we set ourselves, it helps us to work. Today, we are faced with multifactorial issues and we therefore need to cross-reference a huge amount of data in order to have a very complete vision of the effects of the environment for the proper development of genetics. When API-Agro arrived, then Agdatahub, we saw the opportunity to retrieve a lot of data that would otherwise be difficult to access: weather data, quality data, biomass data, grass growth data… Agricultural, health or research data that can be invaluable! By playing the game of these platforms in a very controlled manner, with a win-win approach, we can activate additional levers for progress in genetics.

What other actions does Allice take to promote digitalization and contribute to innovation?

One example is the creation of the Base pro to which a whole host of organizations will contribute. Moreover, the Base pro will be interfaced with Agdatahub: filiation data, genealogy, farm performance control, among others… Everything is gathered but needs to be structured. This is an opportunity to connect a number of tools and applications for breeders. Indeed, many start-ups are working on interesting application products. We can even say today that the world of start-ups has interpenetrated us: we take part in hackathons and, within our organizations, collaborators develop ideas… If the world of livestock farming has experience in data processing, it must not miss the turn of their responsible use. So we have to make sure that the apps can be useful.

We need to link the Base pro, the support of the application tools and the support of Agdatahub in order to have a global perception of the data ecosystem and to be present from the capture to the storage, including the supply of fresh data.

In 2019, when you became president of Allice, you said you wanted to “put genetics more at the service of the environmental and societal challenges facing livestock farming”. How does this desire translate today?

As President of Allice, I have in mind the issues of “Greendeal”, carbon neutrality and animal welfare. These issues need to be integrated into the genetic work. For example, to make animals more resilient, better adapted to climate change (which also contributes to animal welfare!) and with a reduced carbon footprint. Genetics must do its part!

On societal issues, it must be kept in mind that genetic progress takes place over a long period of time. We have already been working for some time on the concept of triple performance (environmental, social and economic). We want to help breeders and the livestock world to meet the objectives set by the public authorities, such as carbon neutrality by 2040.

We work on cross-data but for men who want to ensure that their impact is minimal. This is where the shared platform approach makes sense with the consideration of multiple factors and data sources.

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