Real-time monitor to help farmers boost milk quality

Farmers will gain real-time feedback on milk quality thanks to a monitoring system being developed at Cork Institute of Technology.

Quality Bar Services (QBS) Ltd’s milk monitor will give farmers key data to help meet increased demand and quality standards. The system will use sensors developed at CIT’s Nimbus Centre to generate real-time feedback on milk quality.

Robert Butterly, managing director of QBS, said: “This system will measure physical and chemical properties of milk, from protein to lactose levels to butterfat content, using optical, conductive, flow, and thermal sensors that sits in-situ with the milking machine.”

QBS Ltd was set up in 2001 to provide technical services to the drinks industry, later adapting its beer technology for the dairy industry. Nimbus is partnering on sensor development, hardware, software, and networking.

Funded by Enterprise Ireland’s innovation voucher scheme for third-level R&D, QBS and Nimbus showed that it was feasible to detect mastitis in cows using wireless sensors in real-time.

“If we could detect mastitis, we began to wonder what else we could monitor,” said Mr Butterly. “The real-time milk monitor will allow farmers to cheaply, and quickly, monitor milk production quality.”

Having data on volume, protein, and butterfat will allow farmers to make quick decisions on, for instance, feed to increase productivity. Data on mastitis infection will help the farmer to reduce overall cell count and improve productivity.

TEC Gateway manager at Nimbus, Richard Linger, said: “Providing technology to support innovation is the focus of our industry unit.”

Nimbus is to showcase its services to 200 businesses on Tuesday, October 6, at CIT.


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