VIDEO: ‘Smart livestock farming’ at Honbu Farm in Miyazaki, Japan

VIDEO: ‘Smart livestock farming’ at Honbu Farm in Miyazaki, Japan

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

On Japan’s westernmost main island of Kyushu and four-hour drive from Sasebo Naval Base, Miyazaki is known as the nation’s top agricultural prefecture and is designated as venue for April’s G7 Agriculture Minister’s Meeting.


Within the agricultural prefecture, Honbu Farm in Shintomi Town currently raises about 250 dairy cows using something called a “smart livestock farming” system. The system incorporates cutting-edge information communication and robot technologies.

The AI additions to the farm allow the barn’s temperature and humidity to sustain optimum levels. Monitors on the cows’ necks also help the farmers track their physical and health conditions night or day.

According to Honbu Farm director Hirohisa Honbu, the use of technology also keeps milk production steady, even in the summer months when cows tend to produce less due to the hot temperatures.

The farm also has robots to feed the cows on a schedule and even to milk the cows when the system detects a cow’s udders are full. The efficiency has been beneficial to running the farm.

“Such a cow-friendly automation system allows cows to eat, roam and sleep completely at their own pace,” Honbu said. “And the stress-free environment enables cows to produce high-quality milk, while our labor costs have been cut off to one quarter of what it used to be.”  

Another benefit of using advanced technology is the farm’s ability to use renewable energy created from methane gas emitted by cattle manure. Starting in 2020, Honbu Farm has been generating electricity thanks to the biogas plant processing the manure. After, the manure is used as organic fertilizer in the farm’s corn and grass fields, ensuring truly no waste goes to waste.

Honbu Farm is an example of the future of agriculture and the ways in which farmers and technology are working together to create a more sustainable future.

You can visit Honbu Farm for a guided facility tour with advanced booking. For a reservation or further information on the farm, visit its webpage.

Honbu Farm


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