Maremma, located in southern Tuscany, encompasses a vast area that stretches across the provinces of Livorno and Grosseto. It serves as a remarkable microcosm with its unique features. In 1961, the Caseificio Sociale Manciano – Agricultural Company was established by 21 local breeders. Presently, the cheesemaking farm comprises 250 dairy farming members of various sizes, spread between Manciano and neighboring municipalities. They rely on a herd of 60,000 sheep that produce approximately 8 million liters of milk per year. The farm has obtained organic certification and is renowned for its Pecorino Toscano PDO cheese.
The primary challenge faced by Caseificio di Manciano is the decline in the number of sheep farmers each year, resulting in a reduction in milk for cheese production. Consequently, the notion is that technology can aid in simplifying the work of farmers and potentially make it more appealing to the younger generation. This can be achieved by providing comprehensive and well-equipped advisory services in the area.
To address this, the focus will be on implementing a Farm Management Information System (FMIS) for decision support, integrating new and existing databases managed by various stakeholders, including the farmers’ cooperative, the cheese factory, and technical advisors such as veterinarians and agronomists. The FMIS relies on a web-service architecture, comprising an internal database for backup management, external databases from different sources, a mobile app, and a web dashboard. Currently, the app is accessible to technical advisors for data entry and reading, allowing for visualization, analysis, and statistical insights. Advanced functionalities for the app and a web dashboard are currently being developed.
The main expected benefits include the cheese factory’s ability to estimate both milk quantity and quality in advance, enhanced efficiency in the advisors’ work through event tracking (such as pregnancies, births, deaths, and diseases), and the provision of detailed information to farmers about their milk after laboratory analyses at the factory. Furthermore, the implementation of the FMIS will lead to a reduction in paperwork and optimized management of the animals overall.