IRELAND – Ireland’s Ministry for Agriculture and the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) have opened a new US$45.98 million dairy research centre in Cork, called the VistaMilk SFI Research Centre, to assist the Irish dairy industry.

According to FoodBev, the research centre will also provide research for precision pasture-based dairying, to improve the industry’s impact on the environment, animal well-being and the health of consumers.

The construction of the centre was collaboratively funded by the Irish government, the SFI and various multinational and SME companies in the food industry.

A statement from SFI claimed that the site was necessary to address the key issues facing the dairy industry, including the need to increase innovation as a response to the uncertainties represented by Brexit.

Other key issues that the centre will plan to address include the need to promote the health and nutritional benefits of dairy products, and finding new methods to increase the carbon efficiency of the dairy industry.

“VistaMilk will be the largest Agri-Tech Centre covering the entire dairy production chain, with Exchequer funding of US$29.89 million provided by SFI and my department, together with industry funding of US$16.09 million,” said Ireland’s minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

“This highlights the strong and collaborative commitment to building research and innovation capability that ensures the sustainability of the agri-food sector”.

Director of VistaMilk, professor Donagh Berry added: “To advance the state-of-the-art in agri-food and information sciences, VistaMilk has divided the problem domain into three main thematic areas; Soil and Pasture; Cow, and Food.

Combined, these three areas cover the entire supply chain from soil to society. Within each of these thematic areas, VistaMilk has several targeted projects each of which will leverage the combined expertise of the VistaMilk partners.

Each targeted project involves at least one industry partner, who represent the sectors dealing with grass-seed breeding, animal and human nutrition, animal health, animal breeding, dairy-food processing, data analytics, sensor development, communications and networks, and omics technologies.”