Potential to reduce climate impact with digitalisation in agriculture – literature review and a case study of milk

Mistra Food Futures report #5 “Potential to reduce climate impact with digitalisation in agriculture – literature review and a case study of milk” have investigated the potential for reduced climate impact with the help of digitalization on a Swedish dairy farm. The results show good opportunities for digitalisation, but changes in the dairy system can influence other systems, therefore the entire system needs to be evaluated.

Digitalisation in primary production offers a range of different technologies which could be applied to enable better decisions by collecting data, and to process the collected data using different smart algorithms.

The implementation of digitalisation technologies depends on several factors. Economy, individual farmers’ interest, digital infrastructure, access, and availability to relevant digitalisation technologies as well as access to agricultural advisors with knowledge in digitalisation technologies. The implementation will most likely occur at larger farms where the investment can pay-off, thus the plain areas of Sweden might have a faster implementation rate than woodland areas.

– When it comes to milk production, we discovered that the implementation of various digitalisation technologies at a Swedish dairy farm has a potential to reduce the carbon footprint of Swedish milk by 16 %. Also, precision livestock farming shows the largest potential with an estimated reduction of 14 %, primarily due to feed efficiency and improved animal health and longevity, reducing the total number of animals while maintaining high milk output says Serina Ahlgren, researcher at Mistra Food Futures.

This report is a part of Mistra Food Future’s work to identify agricultural systems with potential to make agriculture net-zero, one of the central issues within Mistra Food Futures.


Frida Edman, Fereshteh Pourazari, Serina Ahlgren, Danira Behaderovic, Per Peetz Nielsen, Victor Kardeby (2022).

Download the report

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About Mistra Food Futures

The overarching vision of the programme Mistra Food Futures is to create a science-based platform to enable transformation of the Swedish food system into one that is sustainable (in all three dimensions: environmental, economic, and social), resilient and delivers healthy diets. By taking a holistic perspective and addressing issues related to agriculture and food production, as well as processing, consumption and retail, Mistra Food Futures aims to play a key role in initiating an evidence-based sustainability (including environmental, economic, and social dimensions) and resilience transformation of the Swedish food system.