Optimized animal-specific barn climatization facing temperature rise and increased climate variability

The OptiBarn target is to develop region-specific, sustainable adaptation strategies for dairy housing, focusing on an optimised climatisation of naturally ventilated buildings. Naturally ventilated barns (NVB) are particularly vulnerable to climate change since the indoor climate strongly depends on the extremes and variability of the outdoor climate. Without sound adaptation strategies, increased climate variability will result in a sub-optimal thermal environment in many livestock buildings impairing production and well-being of animals. Appropriate construction methods and management of the buildings can improve the thermal control, provided that precise identification of factors affecting the thermal control capacity of the buildings under practical farm conditions is undertaken. In this context, indicators for an optimisation of livestock buildings under climate change will be developed in OptiBarn by: (i) Barn-specific assessment of the influence of outdoor climate on the indoor conditions, (ii) Region-specific risk analysis on how often extreme weather situations will occur, (iii) Monitoring animal-individual stress responses to the indoor conditions, (iv) Development of engineering solutions. (v) Modelling tools to assess environmental and economic cross effects of adaptation alternatives. In this context, close contact and exchange with experts from the industry, stakeholders and the scientific community is ensured over the entire term of the project by establishing an advisory board consisting of a stakeholder panel and a scientific panel. OptiBarn consists of five work packages: • WP1 “Simulation of livestock housing climate for region-specific barn concepts and climate boundary conditions” • WP2 “Development and implementation of adaptive smart NVB and environmental control • WP3 “Investigation of animal-specific stress in distinct climates” • WP4 “Impact assessment” • WP5 “Coordination and Dissemination” Through these five work packages, Optibarn will focus on the following innovation aspects: (i) Adaptation potential of livestock housing in NVB in Europe (ii) Animal sensors and closed-loop control (iii) Integrated modelling framework (iv) Uncertainty assessment of results This holistically designed project will provide primary producers with (1) ‘best practice’ template of housing design relevant to specific regions within Europe, (2) enhanced management capability of climate systems within NVB via incorporating environmental and animals based sensors and (3) an integrated modelling framework the assess adaptation strategies for dairy housing. These technological/technical improvements will ‘climate proof’ primary producers against expected climate variability/extremes in the future and thus will contribute to the long term sustainability of dairy production within Europe.


Dec 01, 2014 until Nov 30, 2017

Funding Agency

BLE Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung

Funding Call

FACCE-ERA-Net+, Climate Smart Agriculture


Christoph Menz