beef cows rest on hill Craig Warton/iStock/Thinkstock

SmartCow network to promote innovation in cattle sector

European consortium brings together scientific and technical skills in animal nutrition, genetics, health and welfare, data management and knowledge transfer.

SmartCow — a research network of 3,500 cattle and 30 pan-European projects — is to be created by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) to promote innovation in the European cattle sector.

U.K.-based Agrimetrics is supporting the consortium of 10 research institutes with its expertise in big data for the agri-food industry.

“The SmartCow research network will generate a significant amount of valuable data, and Agrimetrics brings its expertise in data management to the consortium. It will create integrated datasets, increasing significantly the range of analyses that can be conducted. For example, it will be possible to combine data from different methane emission sensors to improve our understanding of how diet affects the release of this greenhouse gas from dairy farms,” professor Richard Tiffin, chief scientific officer for Agrimetrics, explained.

The INRA research infrastructure of 10 research institutes brings together scientific and technical skills in animal nutrition, genetics, health and welfare, data management and knowledge transfer. In the U.K., this includes the Scotland Rural College's (SRUC) Beef & Sheep Research Centre and Dairy Research Centre and the University of Reading Centre for Dairy Research.

 

INRA, the French National Institute for Agricultural Research

SmartCow project coordinator Rene Baumont said, “SmartCow will increase access to the most advanced research facilities and equipment for the cattle sector across Europe. It aims to improve the quality and ethics of cattle research through identification and promotion of best practices, new measurements techniques and smart technologies.”

SRUC professor Richard Dewhurst added, “SRUC is delighted that both its Beef Research facilities based near Edinburgh and its Dairy Research facilities at Dumfries are part of this major European infrastructure; we look forward to welcoming industry and academic groups to conduct exciting new research projects at our facilities.”

Joint research activities will include: refining methods and proxies for evaluating feed efficiency and emissions; developing new protocols to reduce the use of animals, and producing new methods to exploit sensor data for cattle husbandry.

Agrimetrics is a big data center of excellence for the whole agri-food value chain, from farm through to consumer. It is creating a secure data hub for the agri-food community that adds value and improves access to data sources. It can advise, develop and implement knowledge-based services that build resilience and sustainability in the agri-food industry.

INRA

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