New research network involving 3,500 cattle aims to promote innovation

SmartCow research network to beef up innovation in the cattle sector
SmartCow research network to beef up innovation in the cattle sector

A new research network involving 3,500 cattle and 30 projects is to be created to promote innovation in the farming industry.

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).

It 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.

The network will promote innovation in the European cattle sector, and UK-based Agrimetrics is supporting the consortium of ten research institutes with its expertise in big data for the agri-food industry.

SmartCow will generate a significant amount of valuable data. Agrimetrics is creating a data hub for the agri-food community that adds value and improves access to data sources.

Ten institutes

The INRA research infrastructure of ten research institutes brings together scientific and technical skills in animal nutrition, genetics, health and welfare, data management and knowledge transfer.

In the UK this includes SRUC's Beef & Sheep Research Centre, SRUC's Dairy Research Centre, and the University of Reading Centre for Dairy Research.

Professor Richard Tiffin, Chief Scientific Officer for Agrimetrics, explains its role: “It will create integrated data sets, 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.”

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.