Published August 3, 2020 | Version Published
Journal article Open

TRANSFER OF MANURE FROM LIVESTOCK FARMS TO CROP FIELDS AS FERTILIZER USING AN ANT INSPIRED APPROACH

  • 1. Research Centre on Interactive Media, Smart Systems and Emerging Technologies (RISE), Nicosia, Cyprus and Department of Computer Science, University of Twente, The Netherlands
  • 2. Department of Industrial Engineering, University Of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • 3. Department of Computer Science, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus
  • 4. Institute of Agriculture and Food Research and Technology (IRTA), Barcelona, Spain

Description

Intensive livestock production might have a negative environmental impact, by producing large amounts of animal excrements,
which, if not properly managed, can contaminate nearby water bodies with nutrient excess. However, if animal manure is exported
to distant crop fields, to be used as organic fertilizer, pollution can be mitigated. It is a single-objective optimization problem, in
regards to finding the best solution for the logistics process of satisfying nutrient crops needs by means of livestock manure. This
paper proposes a dynamic approach to solve the problem, based on a decentralized nature-inspired cooperative technique, inspired
by the foraging behavior of ants (AIA). Results provide important insights for policy-makers over the potential of using animal
manure as fertilizer for crop fields, while AIA solves the problem effectively, in a fair way to the farmers and well balanced in terms
of average transportation distances that need to be covered by each livestock farmer. Our work constitutes the first application of a
decentralized AIA to this interesting real-world problem, in a domain where swarm intelligence methods are still under-exploited.

Notes

This work has been partly supported by the project that has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 739578 (RISE – Call: H2020-WIDESPREAD-01-2016-2017-TeamingPhase2) and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus through the Directorate General for European Programmes, Coordination and Development.

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Additional details

Funding

RISE – Research Center on Interactive Media, Smart System and Emerging Technologies 739578
European Commission