Teagasc – the Agriculture and Food Development Authority – is the national body providing integrated research, advisory and training services to the agriculture and food industry as well as rural communities. VistaMilk is being hosted by Teagasc Moorepark. Oak Park is the headquarters of Teagasc as well as being the centre for crop science research in Ireland with expertise in agronomy, genetics, pathology, entomology as well as both molecular and conventional breeding practises.
Teagasc has over 1,200 research cows and associated young stock with over 500 hectares of land for dairy cows. Moorepark has the highest Economic Breeding Index (i.e. the national dairy cow breeding index) in the country. Routine measurements taken on feed intake, bodyweight, routine body condition score, milk yield, milk composition, infrared spectroscopy, grass intake and methane emissions. Moorepark boasts a detailed laboratory facility which complete detailed blood metabolites, hormones, milk and phenotyping grass measurement on quality and quantity. Moorepark runs the Pasturebase Ireland database, with 4,000 farmers registered and approximately 3,000 farmers recording yields.
Teagasc’s food programme encompasses many aspects of food science and technology: food structure and functionality, food safety, food quality, food for health, food fermentation, meat and meat products, dairy foods and ingredients, plant based food and ingredients, marine based foods and ingredients and prepared consumer foods. The Teagasc Food Centre at Moorepark also hosts the largest DNA sequencing facility in Ireland, as well as associated servers for bioinformatic analysis. The National Food Imaging Centre, Biofunctional Food Engineering (BFE) facility and the Moorepark Technology Ltd. pilot plant are also located at Moorepark.
The Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) is a non-profit organisation charged with providing cattle breeding information services to the Irish dairy and beef industries. ICBF exists to benefit farmers, agri-food industry and wider communities through genetic gain. Bringing about improvement requires:
- Identification, ancestry and quantitative data on traits of importance for large numbers of animals in each generation.
- A genetic and genomic evaluation system to identify the genetically superior animals in each generation.
- An essential part of the genetic evaluation system is a scientific knowledge of the objectives and principles of cattle breeding.
- A breeding scheme design that ensures the required data are available, and that farmers use genetically superior animals in each generation.
- Well informed farmers and industry partners who willingly provide accurate data from their own farms and make full use of the information services provided by ICBF, and its service providing partners, in their breeding and farm management decisions.
The Insight Centre for Data Analytics is one of Europe’s largest data analytics research organisations. The key areas of priority research are:
- Machine Learning & Statistics
- Semantic Web
- Linked Data
- Media Analytics
- Optimisation & Decision Analytics
- Personal Sensing
- Recommender Systems
There are three Insight partners that are working on VistaMilk; University College Dublin, Dublin City University, and the National University of Ireland Galway. Across these three sites, there will be a number of students associated with VistaMilk; Post-Docs and PhDs. They will work under 12 investigators.
VistaMilk will collaborate with leading Insight researchers specifically in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning. Using artificial intelligence, our researchers develop prediction models from multiple datasets, generating new knowledge. Machine learning will then help implement and improve overall farming practices and animal welfare.
The Telecommunications Software & Systems Group (TSSG) is an internationally recognised centre of excellence for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) research and innovation. It is spearheading the development of next-generation communication systems that supports a number of different verticals, this includes healthcare, agriculture, environmental monitoring, as well as transport.
Research within the TSSG includes development of next generation core and wireless communication networks (e.g., 5G/6G) management systems, artificial intelligence and machine learning for edge/fog computing as well as cloud, pervasive sensing through sensor networks within the environment as well as on and inside the body of humans and animals, programmable autonomous and adaptive systems, as well as non-conventional communication systems that includes molecular communication and computing.
Core to the ethos of the TSSG is the development of basic science research that links to applied research and commercialisation for industry. As part of the VistaMilk project, they will be working on a number of topics, and this includes;
- New connectivity solutions for 5G as well as 6G communication systems to agriculture environment. This ranges from communication and sensing of signals for climate change monitoring, to communication of devices above and underground, as well as for animal wearables.
- Molecular communication systems modelling for characterising microbiome activities and next generation diagnostics
- Edge and Fog analytics for data processing in low-powered communication devices.
- Bio-cyber security solutions to protect Omic platforms.
Tyndall National Institute at University College Cork is one of Europe’s leading research centres in integrated ICT hardware and systems, and the largest facility of its type in Ireland. Tyndall are specialists in electronics and photonics – materials, devices and systems. Global leaders in core research areas of nano materials and device processing, smart sensors and systems, mixed signal and analog circuit design, optical communication systems, microelectronics and photonic integration and semiconductor wafer fabrication. Hosting the only full CMOS, Micro-Electronic-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and III-V Wafer Semiconductor fabrication facilities and services in Ireland, Tyndall is capable of prototyping new product opportunities for its target industries.
VistaMilk collaborates with Tyndall researchers mainly in the area of advanced nanosensor development. Utilising the state-of-the-art facilities of Tyndall, our researchers aim to develop novel sensors and systems to facilitate unique, real-time monitoring solutions for the entire breadth of the agri-foods industry (on-farm, on-field, in-line sensing) that will benefit both production and environmental sustainability.