When Daisy met Duke: How ‘Tinder for Cows’ matchmaking service is helping Irish dairy farmers increase performance and reduce each cow’s environmental hoofprint.

When Daisy met Duke: ‘Tinder for Cows’ | VistaMilkSounds a bit flippant to label the Sire Advice service with the nickname ‘Tinder for Cows’, but as a matchmaking tool that is giving farmers the opportunity to find the perfect mate for their cows, we can kind of justify it. Particularly as the name generated curiosity from the media who were suddenly attentive to our message about some of the many changes farming communities around the country are making to improve the herd’s quality while delivering more valuable milk and beef and – in the case of dairy cows – less emissions per litre of milk.

Fundamentally it is a dating service for cows. Sire Advice works through the ICBF national database of information and provides farmers with information on individual cows and bulls such as weight, fertility, ancestry, milk production and quality – but sadly not music or film preferences. While the cows and bulls can’t swipe right or left themselves it does empower and help farmers match the right cow with the right bull.

There are more than 4,000 farmers are currently using Sire Advice which is part of the HerdPlus service, and we are hopeful that this will increase over the coming years as all the improvements we mention above become more evident each year. The app, developed by the ICBF, is based on research from our very own SFI research centre VistaMilk, based in Co Cork.

The importance of this “Dating Service” at a time of rising demand for quality Irish dairy products both domestically and internationally, cannot be underestimated. The App is helping farmers to meet the global demand for more sustainably produced quality Irish grass-fed dairy produce. It is also cementing Ireland’s global reputation as a centre of excellence in the development of agri-tech tools and the real-world, on-farm use of those tools.

The technology we are researching and developing at VistaMilk alongside with our many partners continues to deliver very serious economic, social, and environmental benefits for not only for those engaged in farming but also for the environmentally conscientious consumer. Breeding programmes are, by their very nature, ‘cumulative and permanent’. VistaMilk’s research has already proven that by adopting best practice in this area of farming, we can increase productivity, provide viability for agricultural communities while at the same time reducing the carbon footprint of Irish dairy produce. Our findings to date show that these breeding activities alone are reducing emissions per litre of milk by close to 1% per annum, with a 14% reduction in the last two decades alone.

For consumers, it means they continue to have access to high-quality, affordable, nutritious dairy and beef products secure in the knowledge that they are produced sustainably. And let’s not forget the cows themselves – they are more efficient, more productive and individually emit less biogenic methane per litre of milk thus helping to achieve the nation’s climate goals.” We expect uptake of HerdPlus to keep increasing as the service continues to prove itself. With many other positive innovations (in the areas of soil, pasture cow and food) being developed through coordination and collaboration by several hundred PhD and postdoc researchers, VistaMilk believes the future is bright (green) for Irish farming.

So next time you are consuming Irish dairy just think of how proud Daisy and Duke are. Because they were matched together you – and thousands of other Irish consumers – have the opportunity to eat or drink a superior quality, more environmentally friendly product that their offspring have produced just for you.

Listen to the VistaMilk Podcast episode on ‘Tinder for Cows’ here: