SFI VistaMilk research centre aims to be ‘cream of the crop’ for global agritech

15 Oct 2018

Image: © Rolf Fassbind/Stock.adobe.com

The SFI has launched Ireland’s newest agritech centre, VistaMilk, with the aim of leading dairy research globally for years to come.

The thought of Ireland as a major dairy producer usually elicits images of age-old, traditional methods of production, but Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) latest agritech research centre aims to completely change that.

The VistaMilk centre is now Ireland’s largest agritech centre, covering the entire dairy production chain. It is hosted by Teagasc Moorepark in partnership with a number of research-performing organisations and industry.

With €26m provided by SFI and the Department for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, as well as industry funding totalling €14m, the centre will assist the Irish dairy industry in fundamental and translational research for precision pasture-based dairying.

The centre will be part of the Government’s Food Wise 2025 strategy to help address key issues facing the dairy sector, including establishing the health and nutrition benefits of dairy products, increasing carbon efficiency, and increasing innovation as a response to the uncertainties arising from Brexit.

An ‘agent of growth’ for Irish dairy

VistaMilk’s director, Prof Donagh Berry, said that the centre will cover three 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,” Berry said.

“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.”

Also speaking of the new centre, SFI director general Prof Mark Ferguson said: “VistaMilk will be an agent of growth for the Irish dairy industry by being a world leader in fundamental and translational research for precision pasture-based dairying.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic