Research Programmes

Dairy Research Ireland is funding a number of multi-annual research programmes and several one-off research projects. The programmes for which funding is sought are evaluated taking account of need for the research, capability of the research organization, potential value of the output of research to farmers, how the results will be disseminated and if it is innovative.


1. Production Research

The largest part of the annual funding allocation is for the Production Research Programme which is conducted by Teagasc. The current programme is for the period 2017 – 2021. The main elements of the Programme are;

  • People in Dairying
  • Grassland Management, grass breeding and evaluation
  • Dairy Cow Genetics & Reproduction
  • Dairy Cow Health & Welfare
  • Milk Production Systems and environmental sustainability
  • Milk Quality, milking and Energy Efficiency
  • Dairy Cow Nutrition and increasing added value
  • Winter/Liquid milk production
  • Milk Production on heavy soils and BMW Region

A new programme has been agreed for the 5 years 2017 – 2021, which is subject to a review after 3 years.

A copy of the programme can be downloaded from elsewhere on this website.

2. Food Research

The second main Programme receiving funding is for Food Research, which is conducted by the Teagasc Food Research Centre. This Programme is for the period 2017 – 2021, subject to review after the first 3 years. This is covering;

  • Cheese (diversification and efficiency).
  • Smart Ingredients (incl Infant formula, advanced drying/hydration/separation technology).
  • Dairy Economics (Seasonality, product mix, sustainability).
  • Dairy Quality and Nutrition (Safety, quality and next generation analytical technology)
  • Effect of ‘pasture’ on nutritional and health benefits of Dairy projects (create awareness of health aspects of milk and milk products for a global market)

Also see report for 2013-2014 which is also carried in the Publications part of this website – Teagasc Dairy Levy Food Report 2013-2014 (2)

3. National Dairy Council Project

Evaluation of the contribution of dairy foods to the nutritional quality of the Irish Adult diet. Project was completed during 2012. The NDC commissioned a dairy-specific analysis of the National Adult Nutrition Survey (NANS). This survey, conducted by the Irish Universities Nutrition Alliance (IUNA), investigated habitual food and beverage consumption in a representative sample of Irish adults between 2008 and 2010. The dairy-specific analysis evaluated the contribution of the ‘milk, yogurt and cheese’ food group to the nutritional quality of the diet of Irish adults aged 18-64 years. This was followed by a further Project in 2014, on the same topic, but focussed on the category aged 65 years and over. The results of this Project are now available, in the following Leaflet, which was published in November 2014.

L1 Dairy Intakes and Compliance with Food Pyramid Recommendations among Irish Adults Aged 65 years and over

Click here to download the first Results Highlight Leaflet, The Contribution of Dairy Foods to Micronutrient Intakes Among Irish Adults.

Further Highlights will be distributed, and more details are available on the NDC website www.ndc.ie/health.

4. University College Dublin Project – Project completed

This project was aimed at improving dairy herd performance by developing innovative software tools for monitoring, investigating and supporting decisions relevant to herd fertility. The work was undertaken with collaboration from Teagasc and ICBF. This project commenced in late in 2011, and concluded in December 2015. The benefits of the project will be that it will assist herd health problem solving, and inform economic decisions.

UCD Project re innovative software tools to improve herd fertility

5. Ornua (Irish Dairy Board) Project

This project is a study into the unique benefits of Irish milk produced predominantly from grass. Initially, it was a 3 year project which commenced in 2012. The time for this project has been extended, and will continue until late 2018. It will identify data to support statements regarding the nature of Ireland’s grass fed system. It will try to identify the differentiating factors behind the Irish dairy industry, including consumer attitudes to grass based production, scientific comparisons of composition and sensory characteristics of Irish milk compared to others.