An innovative inflatable livestock production facility that offers the optimum conditions for animal wellbeing and productivity was announced at Agri-TechE’s 2020 REAP Conference by Daniel Larn, managing director of Willand Group. The Willand Intelligent Livestock System (WIL System) can be installed and fitted-out within weeks and offers the potential for methane and carbon capture to enable net zero livestock production.
Daniel Larn was brought up on the family farm, but made a career in the oil and gas industry. With the downturn in 2017 he considered a move into farming, but then saw the potential for a way of transforming the way livestock is reared.
He explains: “The demand for meat is increasing internationally but the Middle East and Africa is environmentally unsuitable for intensive production.
“Happy animals are the most productive and we saw the opportunity for ‘sensitive intensification’: a climate controlled environment that would offer the animals space and protection from pests and harsh conditions. If we can scale production then the units would also be suitable for temperate countries offering benefits from standardising conditions and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” Daniel Larn, Willand Group
Pop-up system removes GHG for outlet air
The WIL System – which resembles the inflatable structures used for many years to provide undercover sports facilities – can be installed quickly on a green field site. Fresh air is drawn in to maintain the pressure and stale air extracted and scrubbed to remove water, carbon dioxide and methane.
Daniel has been consulting with meat processors that have networks of suppliers. They see the potential to mass produce the livestock facility to lower the cost for farmers and support standardisation of the meat product.
The company is working with a leading university to create a prototype system and is looking for potential partners and investors to accelerate proof of concept so it can fulfil demand from Nigeria and the Middle East.
Willand Group has specialist expertise in IT systems integration, creating a platform into which third party devices such as sensors, monitors, and climate control can be installed and then managed remotely through a dashboard.
The company is working with ‘best in class’ suppliers across the industry to supply a robust and cost-effective next-generation livestock production facility.
Net zero livestock production creating value from co-products
Daniel believes that by removing ammonia and nitrates from the exhaust air and containing the slurry, units can also generate value from the by-products as fertiliser or through carbon capture. Although technically possible at the moment, more development is required for it to be cost-effective.
“In the UK, we are working with planning authorities and the Environment Agency to ensure that the units meet quality standards. This will enable installation of the WIL System in non-traditional sites close to centres of population if required.
“We are offering a complete installation package, together with finance as required and anticipate that it will take a month on site to go from bare field to fully functional unit.”
Belinda Clarke, Director of Agri-TechE, says: “In the race for net zero emissions from agriculture, Willand’s ‘pop-up’ solution for livestock management facilities has the potential to be a game-changer. This innovation will bring together a range of technologies to improve emissions and animal welfare.”