The final conference of the SmartCow project was recently held (Wednesday, April 6) and included a presentation of findings from the consortium over the past four years.

SmartCow integrates key European cattle research infrastructures (RIs) to promote their coordinated use and development, and thereby help the cattle sector face the challenge of sustainable production. 

SmartCow coordinator, Rene Baumont, said that the reason behind the infrastructure project is the need for better coordination of research on livestock, particularly cattle, at a European level.

The European infrastructure project provided academic private research communities with access to 11 major research infrastructures from seven countries comprising 2,500 dairy and 1,000 beef cows.

These RIs were aimed at promoting animal welfare and healthy livestock, as well as sustainable competitiveness, and were then used to develop innovative and ethical solutions for efficient use of and animal and feed resources.

Participating in the project, Teagasc provided transnational-access project activities to a number of other European organisations at its research centres in Moorepark and Grange.

Project details

SmartCow combined strong scientific and technical skills in animal nutrition i.e. methane emissions measurements, genetics, health and welfare and ethics in animal experimentation.

SmartCow provided transnational access to the network’s resources including a wide range of cattle types, husbandry and feeding systems, and to the most advanced animal-science technologies applied to cattle across the RIs.

Project RIs were integrated through networking activities including the creation of an inventory of all RIs and capabilities in European countries, common standards, cattle phenotyping ontology, and the creation of a cloud-based data platform to store and share data.

SmartCow built joint-research activities including new tools to evaluate feed efficiency, gas emissions and treat-sensor data, and thus improved the quality and ethics of research services.

SmartCow assembled an additional 14 partners from nine different countries in 2022, and was funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

While the main project, which was launched on February 1, 2018, will conclude at the end of this month, the work will continue to promote joint research activities.