DAIRY SCIENCE SECTOR OPENS DOORS TO PUBLIC WITH DRONES, SOIL SENSORS, AND SMARTPHONE APPS FOR KEEPING TRACK OF COWS | VistaMilk

 

 

 

 

Hi-tech grass imaging ‘dairy drones’, soil sensors, and apps which monitor the behaviour of cows will be among the ground-breaking research on display next month when the cream of Ireland’s dairy science sector open their doors to the public.

Moorepark Open Day 2023 will provide an opportunity for visitors to experience first-hand the technologies and practices that are helping farmers secure a sustainable future for the Irish dairy industry.

The event – which takes place on July 4th at Teagasc, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co Cork –  is a firm favourite with dairy farmers and processors, their families, and those working in other agri-food sectors.

Researchers from the VistaMilk SFI Research Centre will be among those showcasing their work. This will include experiments showing how DNA can be used to identify microbacteria in soils, and how drones equipped with grass imaging technology can help farmers identify the best fields for grazing.

There will be interactive demonstrations on sensor technology, such as how sensors are used to measure soil nitrate content, the moisture and composition of grass, animal glucose levels, and milk heat stability – and how farmers can use their smartphone to keep track of the amount of time their cows spend grazing and resting. The sensor technology being developed by VistaMilk researchers is led by Alan O’Riordan, Senior Research Fellow at the Tyndall National Institute.

Moorepark Open Day will showcase the best of Irish dairy research from organisations under the Teagasc umbrella. The dedicated VistaMilk area will have teams sharing their expertise in the four key areas of research and impact where the organisation identifies challenges and solves problems for the dairy industry – soil, pasture, cow, and food.

Researchers will present VistaMilk’s work on the benefits of adding clover to pasture to reduce nitrogen and the advantages of multi-species swards compared to perennial ryegrass.  Deirdre Hennessy, lecturer in Sustainable agriculture in UCC and funded investigator in VistaMilk, and other researchers will be in the Grassland village at the Open Day to answer questions from visitors.

In the area of animal welfare, senior researcher Emer Kennedy will present data on the effect of feeding milk with antibiotic residues to calves, and advice on assessing cow and calf welfare on farms, including by monitoring behaviour before weaning.

There will be information from VistaMilk PhD student Elia Dufosse about breeding programmes that are producing more nitrogen efficient cattle, including how GreenFeed machines are being used to accurately measure methane emissions from the national herd and use that data to identify genetically lower emitting animals.

John Tobin, Head of Food Chemistry and Technology, will be the resident milk expert, covering the effects of seasonality on the production of milk and dairy products, and the impact of cow genetics on changing milk proteins.

There will be plenty of fun, educational experiences on offer for younger visitors – including the opportunity to make your own cream, a demonstration of how milk is digested in our stomach, and a poster-colouring competition for primary school children.

Those considering a career in agri-science will be able to get careers advice and information about participating in the VistaMilk Transition Year programme from Elena Hayes, VistaMilk’s Education and Public Engagement Manager.

VistaMilk Director Donagh Berry said: “Moorepark Open Day is a fun and engaging way for dairy farmers, other agri-food sector workers, and the general public to experience first-hand the technologies and practices that are being developed to underpin the economic, environmental, and social sustainability credentials of Irish dairy farms”.

“VistaMilk is uniquely placed to provide insight and expertise on how science is helping to address the most important challenges facing the dairy industry in Ireland, such as increasing biodiversity, reducing emissions, and carbon sequestration”.

“Visitors will also have an opportunity to meet the VistaMilk researchers and industry partners who are helping to drive progress in a sector that is worth €6.8bn to the Irish economy annually.”

Follow this link for more information about Moorepark Open Day 2023.

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For further information:

Jeremy Probert | 4TC | jeremy@4tc.ie | (+353) (0)89-700-0792

Craig McKechnie | 4TC | craig@4tc.ie | (+353) (0)87-621-8839

 

Notes to Editors:

VistaMilk SFI Research Centre

Established in 2018, the VistaMilk SFI Research Centre identifies challenges and solves problems for the Irish dairy sector in four specific areas – soil, pasture, cow, and food. VistaMilk is a unique collaboration between Agri-Food and information communications technology (ICT) research institutes and leading Irish/multinational food and ICT companies. It is funded by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) and the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Through strategic collaboration and co-ordination, VistaMilk’s research programme provides an opportunity to acquire, analyse and act upon data to generate a range of recommendations and practical solutions to real and current issues.

VistaMilk’s access to expertise and resources makes it an authoritative voice on a range of topics facing the Irish dairy industry, including sustainability, emissions reduction, and carbon sequestration.

VistaMilk’s projects will enable Irish dairy farmers to develop the sustainable practices that will protect the 18,000 family farms, the 60,000 jobs and the more than €6bn annual economic contribution that dairy supports in this country. It will also provide consumers with the reassurance of knowing that the dairy products they buy continue to be both farmed and processed locally.