Glanbia and Dairygold look to the future with Data Analytics

Dairy processing giants Glanbia and Dairygold are to collaborate with Waterford Institute of Technology’s Telecommunication Software and Systems Group (TSSG), Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and Teagasc.

Launching the ‘Smart Appi’ Project, Minister Bruton said; ‘This Innovation Partnership is closely aligned with Big Data, one of the government’s seven disruptive reforms contained in the Action Plan for Jobs. This investment of almost €445,000 from Enterprise Ireland and the companies involved – Glanbia and Dairygold – underpins their belief that Data Analytics can significantly impact the growth of the dairy sector leading from innovation to job creation.’

National quotas for the production of milk will end in April 2015. This will lead to new business and technical challenges for dairy processors. The investment from Enterprise Ireland and the companies will minimise uncertainty around quality and quantity of milk being produced on farms. It will provide the processors with a way to reliably forecast variations in milk supply and has the potential to improve competiveness and boost employment in the sector.

The work will involve building the ‘Smart Appi’ software platform to provide the processors with a way to forecast variations in milk supply over the production season. By taking data from a range of external sources, processors will be able to identify emerging trends and get a more accurate prediction of short-term and longer-term milk production and quality levels.

As the producers strive to maximise output, a key issue for processors is how to plan transport, refrigeration, processing and finished product storage capacity. This is a particularly challenging and costly problem for the processors as currently throughout Ireland there is a 10% variance year on year of milk supply into the system with short term (weekly) fluctuations throughout the year. This Innovation Partnership project will result in optimum sizing and assignment of processing capacity and ultimately processing costs.

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