Arla develops artificial intelligence tool to predict milk supply

DENMARK – The Danish dairy company, Arla Foods has developed a new artificial intelligence tool which is able to predict the amount of milk produced and supplied by farmers to the cooperative.

Arla can now predict how much milk 1.5 million cows will produce, ensuring sustainable milk and better utilization across the entire value chain.

It said that this kind of forecast previously took days to create and arose manually from piles of Excel sheets but, with the new tool, it only takes a few hours and is said to be 1.4% more accurate.

With the technology, the company is able to better monitor around 13 billion kilos of milk it collects from 10,300 farmer-owners across Northern Europe, and the way it transforms it into healthy and more sustainable dairy products.

“The better we are at predicting what our milk intake will be, the better we can plan and optimise our entire value chain, which both improves profitability for our farmer-owners and drives sustainability,” said Michael Bøgh Linde Vinther, Director of Global Milk Planning in Arla.  

“The new AI tool provides us with an insight into our supply of milk that we have never had before.”

By using AI technology, Arla is able to create the milk intake forecast from a much richer data foundation including seasonal changes, the number of farmers converting to new milk types, the farmers’ geographical characteristics as well as how much milk they produce on a daily basis.

This ensures better milk planning and easier decision making in production of various dairy products.

They are also able to plan and adjust the number of Arla trucks travelling across the country, thus reducing reduce cost and save the environment for unnecessary CO2 emissions.

“We are now able to make important strategic decisions on a more informed basis.

“The data has become more valid as it is now formalised in a bulletproof system rather than based on individual knowledge.

“It’s amazing to see how this new technology is able to optimise and improve a, up until now, very time-consuming task,” said Michael.

The new milk intake forecasting tool is implemented in all Arla’s markets across Europe, including Denmark, Germany, Sweden, the UK, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

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