The SmartCow project (H2020 N°730924) integrates key European cattle research infrastructures (RIs) to promote their coordinated use and development, and thereby help the European cattle sector face the challenge of sustainable production.
Due to sanitary conditions, the third annual meeting of the SmartCow project was held remotely on March 11th-12th. The participation was good with more than 30 attendees to each part of the meeting. The meeting aimed to take stock of the work done during the last year, discuss the results obtained and plan the actions to be carried out for the last year of the project.
After three years of the project:
The networking activities developed an interactive map of cattle research infrastructures at European scale. A book of methods to harmonize experimental procedures in cattle physiology and behavior and to implement the 3R (Replace, Reduce, Refine) principles in cattle experimentation was published. A cloud-based data-platform to facilitate data sharing and interoperability was developed. To standardize the vocabulary used in cattle research, the livestock ontologies (ATOL and EOL) were improved.
SmartCow transnational access activity provided academic and private research communities with easy access to 11 major RIs from 7 countries for more than 9,000 experimental cow-weeks distributed in 24 research projects. A significant involvement in the education of a new generation of researchers was achieved through attractive training courses and involvement of young scientists in transnational access projects.
During the meeting, we discussed the next steps and the finalization of project activities with a particular focus on joint research activities that are conducted to refine reference methods in cattle nutrition, produce proxies to evaluate feed efficiency, nitrogen and enteric methane emissions, and new methods to exploit data from sensors monitoring animal behavior.
In the next months, the SmartCow project will organize i) the 4th meeting of its Stakeholder Platform composed of pre- and post-farm gate industry, farmer organizations and policy makers at national and EU levels; ii) a specific session at the EAAP2021 conference in Davos entitled “Methods and technologies for research and smart nutrition management in dairy and beef cattle”; and iii) if the sanitary conditions allows it a face-to-face meeting of SmartCow partners and Stakeholders at FBN-Dummerstorf (Germany).
Dr. René Baumont