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University of Wisconsin–Madison

A Virtual Dairy Farm Brain: The Next Big Leap in Dairy Farm Management Applying Artificial Intelligence

This project will develop a “virtual dairy farm brain,” a state-of-the-art suite of real-time integrated dairy farm management decision support tools. The “virtual dairy farm brain” will mimic actual farm management and will learn as it goes by applying complex machine learning pipelines and exploiting the interdependencies of the complex integrated biological, physical, and informational dimensions of dairy farm systems. The project will determine if a dairy farm can substantially improve its economic and environmental performance by interacting, adopting and applying integrated, databased analytics, expert systems, and artificial intelligence contained in whole farm decision support tools through the “virtual dairy farm brain.”

This innovative project is anticipated to transform how dairy farms will operate in the future and likely become the next big leap in dairy farm management. Dairy farms have embraced technological innovations and procured vast amounts of permanent data streams, but the problem is that they have not been able to integrate all this information to improve whole farm based management and decision-making. It is imperative to develop a system that can collect, integrate, manage, and analyze on-farm and off-farm data in real-time for practical and relevant actions. This project’s main assets include using existing data – cow, herd, farm, market, weather, crops, and soils – and integrating these data streams to produce new knowledge and optimized decision-support tools.

The project is especially important and relevant to Wisconsin, the largest dairy farm state (10,000 farms), in which dairying contributes half of the agricultural economy, has an impact of $43 billion a year, and supports 80,000 jobs.

Principal Investigator

  • Victor Cabrera
    Associate Professor of Dairy Science and UW-Extension Dairy Systems Management Specialist

Co-Principal Investigators

  • Tom Cox
    Professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics
  • Jim Leverich
    Professor at UW-Extension
  • Miron Livny
    Professor of Computer Sciences
  • Michael Ferris
    Professor of Computer Sciences
  • Jignesh Patel
    Professor of Computer Sciences
  • Kent Weigel
    Professor and Chair of the Department of Dairy Science
  • Heather White
    Assistant Professor of Dairy Science