A new project launched to harvest Irish Dairy farm data and yield accurate forecasts
The Smart Appi Project is an innovative research collaboration between dairy giants, Glanbia and Dairygold and researchers from Waterford Institute of Technology’s TSSG, Cork Institute of Technology and Teagasc. The project is based on developing Smart Appi software to collate and analyse digital data with a view to increasing Irish dairy production. The Smart Appi platform is designed to collect and analyse data to reliably forecast variations in milk supply in terms of quality and quantity of milk produced on farms.
As milk quotas end in April 2015, new market challenges will emerge in terms of competitiveness and having the technical resources to compete successfully in the market. The Smart Appi project is also backed by Enterprise Ireland as they see it has the potential to boost employment in the sector.
Milk Production Post Irish Dairy Quota
Fluctuating milk production at present can have severe consequences under current rules. This Summer alone Irish farmers have been slammed with a milk super levy fine of around €10m for producing more milk this year than they’re allowed to under quota restrictions.
With quotas abolished in 2015 Irish Dairy Farmers are expected to scale up and tax incentives are expected to be announced in the Budget to boost the industry. Let’s see if Milking Robots will be included in the breaks!!
Scale ups by farmers will mean that forecasting by the processors to ensure there is adequate sizing of processing capacity, refrigeration, transport and finished goods storage capacity to cope with increased supply and cope with their own output of finished products, will be in acutely in focus and supported by the new software. As it stands there is a 10% variation in milk supply throughout the year and this is hoped to be addressed with the help of data analytics.
What do the Irish Dairy Farmers Forecast?
The Department of Agriculture consulted with member Co-Ops on their outlook for next year;
“Following consultations with member Co-ops, ICOS’ view is that while the potential exists to increase milk supply by up to 50% over the next decade, an increase of about 20% is more likely. A recent analysis of Co-op supplier surveys carried out by ICOS, weighted to reflect the current level of milk supply in co-op regions, suggested that a net 22% increase in milk supply will be delivered in the years immediately following the ending of quotas. While individual co-op surveys showed a significant variance in growth expectations, varying from modest decreases to increases of the order of 35%, it is important to recognise that the timing of such surveys is crucial, as farmer sentiment has been shown to vary significantly during periods of price volatility.”
The Irish Dairy industry is in for a new season of change next year and data will play an increasing role to support and grow its potential.
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