Advanced cattle feeding on pasture through innovative pasture management

Project information

Advanced cattle feeding on pasture through innovative pasture management

Call: ICT and Automation for a Greener Agriculture

Id: 14305

Acronym: i-LEED

1 June, 2013 to 30 June, 2017

No Partner Contact Country Total
1 Coord.Bayerische Landesanstalt für Landwirtschaft - Institute for Agricultural Engineering and Animal HusbandryZoltan GoborGermany304.4157.8Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture
2TSCF Research Unit
Christophe CariouFrance396.085.0French National Research Agency
3dsp-Agrosoft GmbHWerner FeuckerGermany172.1120.5Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture
4CEO and CTO
Cedric TESSIERFrance190.0131.5French National Research Agency
5Dept. of Agricultural Engineering & Technology
Faculty of Agriculture
Ege University
Arif Behiç TekinTurkey72.772.7Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey


The aim of the project is to optimise the feeding of cattle on pasture and the management of the pasture through introduction and fusion of innovative tools like the pasture robot and the i-LEED software. Finally, a fully functional pasture robot will be demonstrated. The pasture robot will be developed based on a redesigned existing robotic platform in order to allow stable movement under difficult terrain conditions. During the optimisation phase aspects of energy consumption, energy availability and mobility management will be particularly considered. The stability problem will be approached based on adaptive and predictive control techniques, designed to compensate for the perturbations encountered in a natural environment and perform accurate path following. Furthermore, different actuators (mulcher, seeder) and adequate sensors for pasture care will be designed, build and implemented on the robot platform. In order to provide the necessary data for the actions of actuators and for the feeding strategy within the i-LEED software, suitable sensors have to be found for data collection. The sensors should provide information about the biomass (prior and past grazing) and allow detection of cowpats, heading gramineous plants, undesired plants or areas without vegetation in order to carry out selective improvement of pasture conditions after grazing and based on this to ensure optimised feeding of cattle. The i-LEED software will interact with a global Herd Management Software (HMS) providing control of the pasture robot as well as providing calculations of the optimal feeding strategy for cattle and maintenance of the pasture.






Contemporary agricultural production is facing new challenges. The dairy industry is anticipated to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the coming years, increasing demand on agricultural resources. The main goal of the i-LEED project was to optimise the feeding strategy for grazing cattle by improving pasture management methods. The pasture robot developed was based on a redesigned existing robotic platform, which focused on stable movements under difficult terrain conditions. The 2D-sensor technology (laser scanner and near infrared sensor) provides information on grass biomass, quality and quantity (pre and post grazing) as well as detection of cowpats, undesired plants or areas without vegetation. In this way, optimisation of areas for grazing can be implemented through adequate definition of trajectories. In summary, the method developed based on an appropriate sensor and software technology will encourage the acceptance of grazing as an economically effective alternative for pasture management. Partners from i- LEED are currently on the search for industry partners seeking the commercialisation of the robot. International co-operation between young researchers and entrepreneurs was achieved in the frame of this project.

  • The new i-LEED software will interact with a global Herd Management Software (HMS) and allow the control of the scouting and pasture robot. Furthermore, the calculation of the optimal feeding strategy for cattle as well as suggestions for maintenance of the pasture should be possible in order to provide support for the farm manager for decision making.
  • A concept of pasture robot including several variants will be developed based on existing wheeled robotic platforms. The collected data from all relevant sources in the barn and the robot will be combined within the i-LEED software to generate an optimal feeding strategy through allocation of an adequate grazing area size through moving the fences within paddocks.
  • Scouting and pasture robot (autonomous data collection about forage quality and quantity as well as mulching and sowing)
  • Analysis of robotic platforms for scouting and pasture robot
  • Analysis and development of implements (mulcher and seeder) for pasture robot
  • Path planning for scouting and pasture robot
  • Online detection of forage quality and quantity
  • Detection of cow pats and bare soil
  • Herd management software (HMS)
  • Interface for communication between the scouting and pasture robot and HMS

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