Smart Farming and Data Analytics in Ireland

1st National Workshop

Wednesday, 12th June 2019 - Maynooth University

What is the 1st National Workshop on Smart Farming and Data Analytics in Ireland (SFDAI) about?

We, Dr. Peter Mooney and Dr. Liadh Kelly from the Department of Computer Science at Maynooth University, are delighted to welcome you to the official webpage for the 1st National Workshop on Smart Farming and Data Analytics in Ireland (SFDAI 2019). We are the Co-Chairs of SFDAI 2019 and we hope that this webpage will provide you with all of the information you will need to know about what is planned for this really exciting workshop.

Smart Farming represents the application of modern Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) into agriculture. Smart Farming sees the combined application of ICT solutions such as precision equipment, the Internet of Things (IoT), sensors and actuators, geo-positioning systems, Big Data, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs, drones), robotics, etc. Practically, Smart Farming should provide the farmer with added value in the form of better decision making, new knowledge about their farm or more efficient operations and management of the farm itself.

In Ireland, there is a growing awareness of Smart Farming. However, the understanding and focus of most ‘Smart Farming’ revolves around more efficient operations and management of the farm itself. There is much less emphasis on using data and information generated by the farm (machinery, collection of data from farm animals, farm sensors, etc.) to inform better decision making and new knowledge. In 2016 the OCED reported that 80% of data collected on farms is never “stored or accessed in a way that the data becomes actionable”.

This is where the 1st National Workshop on Smart Farming and Data Analytics in Ireland (SFDAI) comes into focus. The two primary goals of the workshop are to (1) highlight to farmers and the agricultural community the innovations possible in Ireland through an exploration of data analytics for Smart Farming, and (2) to interact and learn from the farming community so that researchers and scientist can develop a research agenda for Smart Farming data analytics in order to bring about the practical reality of Smart Farming and Data Analytics.

Who should attend this workshop?


SFDAI 2019 welcomes farmers of all backgrounds: dairy, tillage, dry-stock, poultry, equine, contractors, forestry, etc. working on farms from 10 acres to 10,000. Your opinions, experiences, knowledge and ideas for SFDAI are vital to the success of the workshop. Don't worry if you're not using Smart Farming technologies yet. Every farmer can give input to SFDAI 2019. The workshop will give you a flavour of what Smart Farming can offer to the Irish farmer.

Farm Advisors

Are you a Farm Advisor in Ireland? The SFDAI 2019 workshop welcomes you - we want to hear your opinions, ideas and stories on what the current 'State of Play' is for Smart Farming in Ireland. What do you see as the barriers to Smart Farming uptake and what are the solutions? What are the feelings 'at the farm gate' about Smart Farming?

Data Scientists

Are you a data scientist or analytics expert? Do you realise how much information and data is generated by agricultural machinery and associated sensors? SFDAI 2019 can introduce you to many exciting and challenging data analytics problems in Smart Farming in coverting data and information from the farm into actionable knoweldge.

Agricultural Scientists

The application of science and other disciplines (e.g. business, management) to the agricultural domain is now commonplace. As agricultural scientists you will be involved in a wide range of services provided to farmers and other food producers to ensure quality standards and profitable production systems. SFDAI 2019 will look for your input around how Smart Farming and Data Analytics can drive more profitable and efficient production systems while protecting the enviroment and ensuring quality standards in food production.

Registration Information: SFDAI 2019

Thanks to the support of the Department of Computer Science here in Maynooth University we are delighted to announce that there is no registration or participation fee at SFDAI 2019. We are very grateful of this support. With this support we hope to encourage a large number of participants to join us at SFDAI 2019 with particular focus on participation from: the farming and rural communities, agricultural advisors and managers, agricultural policy makers, argicultural scientists and technologists.

How can I register for SFDAI 2019? There are two ways you can register for SFDAI 2019. These are outlined as follows:

  • Online Registration with Eventbrite: Use the Eventbrite link to register for SFDAI 2019. We'll just need your name, daytime contact telephone number, and email address. You will also need tell us your occupation. When you have registered on Eventbrite an email will be automatically sent to you confirming your registration.
  • Telephone Registration: You can telephone the Department of Computer Science office to register for SFDAI 2019. The telephone number is (01) 708 3847 and is available from 09:30 to 17:00, Monday to Friday. When you call please tell the secretary that you wish to register for SFDAI. She will then take your name, contact details and category of occupation (farmer, scientist, etc.). If you provide an email address, you will receive an email confirming your registration.

What if I need to register multiple people for SFDAI 2019?. Please ensure that you have the consent of all persons whom you are registering for before providing their contact details to us in the registration process.

What if I am unable to attend SFDAI 2019?. We realise that for a multitude of reasons those who have registered may not be able to actually attend on the day. If you have registered for SFDAI 2019 and cannot make it please let us know by phoning (01) 708 3847 or emailing We'll be able to allocate your registration to another participant.

Is the data and personal information I provide for SFDAI 2019 kept safe? We will only use information that you provide us during registration for organising the SFDAI workshop, and will only contact you by email or telephone in direct relation to the necessary organisation of the SFDAI 2019 workshop.

Online registration for SFDAI 2019

Register Now

About the SFDAI 2019 Organisers and Co-Chairs

Dr. Peter Mooney

Dr Peter Mooney is a lecturer in Computer Science at the Department of Computer Science in Maynooth University. Peter teaches both undergraduate and postgraduate courses on topics such as Database Technologies, Spatial Data Analysis and Mobile Application Development. His main research interest lies in the generation, management, analysis and usage of all types of geographic data. In particular he is interested in how citizens’ lives can be improved with better usage and availability of geographical data and information. Peter was born and raised in County Meath and retains strong connections to his rural community and the countryside.
Peter can be contacted by email at

Dr. Liadh Kelly

Dr Liadh Kelly is a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at Maynooth University, teaching students on topics in the space of multimedia technologies and data access and retrieval. Her research interests revolve around intelligent search and multimodal information access and retrieval. She is particularly interested in understanding individuals’ information needs and developing digital systems which automatically respond to these needs, and which support understanding, task completion and decision making.
Liadh can be contacted by email at

Our Keynote Speakers

We are very exicted to introduce our two keynote speakers at SFDAI 2019. Our keynote speakers are very well known in the agricultural domain in Ireland (and beyond). Both speakers will give a keynote talk at the beginning of our workshop. In these talks both speakers will outline their thoughts and experiences on Smart Farming in Ireland, where they see challenges ahead, and what solutions are out there. Both speakers will participate fully in the entire workshop so you'll have plenty of time to ask them questions and seek their opinions/advice. We are delighted to have them both participate in SFDAI 2019.

Mr. Darragh McCullough

The McCullough family have been farming at Elmgrove in east Meath for three generations. Always looking to innovate, Pat McCullough started one of first pedigree dairy farms in the area after the War, while his son Eamon developed the largest onion growing operation in the country, and introduced robots to milk the Elmgrove herd in the late 1990s.

Darragh now runs a 100 acre cut-flower and bulb business, with flowers supplied to many major retailers and exported as far away as Poland, US, and Holland (yes, selling flowers to the Dutch - sand to the Arabs next!). Continuous experimentation has developed a flower enterprise that produces outdoor-grown flowers from January to October.

His farm enterprise also has a cereal and free-range turkey enterprise, along with a partnership with a neighbour in a large dairy unit. In his 'spare time', Darragh likes to talk and write about food, farming and rural issues. He has presented RTE's Ear to the Ground programme for 17 years to weekly audiences of up to 500,000. He also writes a weekly column for the Irish Independent's Farming section.

Prof. Thia Hennessy

Prof Thia Hennessy was appointed Dean of the Business School at University College Cork (UCC), Ireland in 2016. The Business School at UCC is Ireland’s largest provider of undergraduate education with a student body of over 3,500 and a staff of almost 200. Since her appointment as Dean, Thia has been proactive in building the international profile of the School, expanding student numbers by almost 20 percent and tripling the number of international students.

In addition to her role as Dean, Thia is also Professor and Chair of Agri-Food Economics in UCC. Over her 20-year research career she has examined issues such as the impact of changing agricultural policy on farm performance, the implications of environmental policy for agriculture and food production and the role of technological developments in farm performance. She has published over 100 academic articles, collaborated on numerous international research projects and is a regular contributor to the media in Ireland.

Prof Hennessy holds degrees from NUI Maynooth, UCD and the University of Reading, UK. She is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Agribusiness programme. In addition to her role of Dean, she also holds a number of directorships, serving on the boards of Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority of Ireland, the Irish Management Institute and the Cork Chamber of Commerce.

SFDAI 2019: Programme

We have a very exciting and stimulating programme lined up for SFDAI 2019. The programme is designed to be all inclusive of the different backgrounds of all of our participants. The core part of the workshop will be the breakout sessions in the morning and the expert lecture sessions in the afternoon. We have two excellent Keynote speakers to provide two thought provoking talks at the beginning of the workshop to set the tone for the day ahead. All activities will take place in Callan Building on the North Campus of Maynooth University. Lunch and coffee breaks are included in the free workshop registration for all participants.

Time Programme Activity
All sessions take place in the Callan Building. The specific rooms are outlined below.
08.45-9.30 [Venue: Callan Foyer, outside CB2] Registration Desk will open. Tea and Coffee will be available to participants who arrive during this time.
09.30-9.45[Venue: CB2] Welcome and introduction to the workshop and scene setting.
SFDAI 2019 Closing Session Slides
09.45-10.50[Venue: CB2] SESSION #1: Invited Keynote Presentations: In our two talks both Darragh McCullough and Prof. Thia Hennessy will outline their thoughts and experiences on Smart Farming in Ireland, where they see challenges ahead, and what solutions are out there. There will be some time for a selection of questions from the audience
10.50 - 11.30 [Venue: Callan Foyer, outside CB2] Tea/Coffee break and networking
11.30 - 13.00 SESSION #2: Breakout group discussions: Group forming will be explained on the day.
  • Work Group 1: Venue CB2. Workshop Leader: Dr. Aine O'Reagan (Teagasc, Rural Economy & Development Programme, Athenry, Co. Galway, Ireland)
  • Work Group 2: Venue CB3. Workshop Leader: Dr. Simone van der Burg (Ethics and responsible research and innovation, Wageningen Economic Research, The Netherlands)
    Presentation Slides
  • Work Group 3: Venue CB7. Workshop Leader: Dr. Peter Mooney (Dept of Computer Science, Maynooth University)
  • Work Group 4: Venue CB4. Workshop Leader: Dr. Liadh Kelly (Dept of Computer Science, Maynooth Univeristy)
13.00 - 14.10 Lunch and Networking. Lunch will be provided in the Phoenix Restaurant on the MU campus
14.10-16.15 SESSION #3: Expert Lecture Sessions: There will be 3 lecture sessions, each of maximum 30 minute duration. Participants will be organised into three groups. We'll organise the order in which each group will attend each lecture. Group forming will be explained on the day. There will be a short break between each of the lectures. All lecture rooms are situated along the same corridor of the Callan Building. Sessions are described in more detail below.
16.15-16.30 [Venue: CB2] SESSION #4: Closing - wrapup, time to raise final points by attendees.
There will be some time for additional networking and informal conversation after the workshop has ended.
SFDAI 2019 Closing Session Slides

What are the Expert Lecture Sessions at SFDAI 2019?

We have three really exciting Expert Lecture Sessions lined up for you at SFDAI 2019. You will find details of these lecture sesions below. There is no need to sign up for these sessions as all participants will be able to attend all sessions. We'll provide a grouping of participants to attend each lecture session on the day of the workshop. We are very thankful to our facilators for offering their time and expertise to provide this excellent, informative, sessions to SFDAI 2019.

We will organise the lecture sessions such that every participant will be able to visit each of the lecture sessions. The lecture sessions will last at maximum 30 minutes and there will be a short break time for you to walk to the next lecture session. All lecture sessions will be held in the Callan Building of North Campus of Maynooth University.

Lecture Session #1: What can drones do?
Facilator: Aidan Magee, U-Flyte Project, National Center for Geocomputation, Maynooth University.
Within recent years drones, have seen rapid growth in popularity across a variety of industries including the agricultural. This session will discuss how drones can be used as a tool to enable precision agriculture. The session will also explore the practical and regulatory considerations needed when using drones, and examine the viability of their use within Ireland today.

Lecture Session #2: How to Make Sense of Your Data
Facilator: Dr. Christina O'Connor, School of Business, Maynooth University.
This session will discuss and explore the following areas: (1) What is Big Data? (2) What is the value of Big Data? (3) What is the process in making sense of Big Data? Christina has worked with farm businesses across the UK and Ireland over the last 10 years. The volume and variety of data deriving from everyday activity on the farm is an excellent source of insight to the direction of the farm, but this is largely based on making sense of this data and understanding where value can be added.

Lecture Session #3: Exploring Copernicus
Facilator: Dr. Conor Cahalane, Dept of Geography, Maynooth University.
Copernicus is the European Union's satellite mapping programme. In this lecture session you will see the benefits that satellites can bring to Agriculture - helping when assessing agricultural land use and trends, crop conditions and yield forecasts. Copernicus supports irrigation management, seasonal mapping of cultivated areas, water management and drought monitoring, as well as subsidy controls.

SFDAI 2019: Logistics and Travel Information

All of the activities for SFDAI 2019 will be held in the Callan Building on the North Campus of Maynooth University, Ireland. The image below will show you the location of the Callan Building on the North Campus. However, the links below will also give you specific information on how to reach the University and where the workshop will be held.

  • GPS Coordinates of the Callan Building: 53.38269,53.38269 can be used in your Sat Nav system.
  • EIRCODE for Directions: The Eircode W23 F2H6 will direct you to the nearby building 'The John Hume Building'. There is no Eircode for the Callan Building at the moment. If you use the EIRCODE you will be directed onto the campus. Signage provided will indicate the location of the Callan Building.
  • See the location of SFDIA 2019 on an online map: OpenStreetMap location of SFDAI 2019
  • See the location of SFDIA 2019 on an online map: Google Maps location of SFDAI 2019
  • Where can I park my car for SFDAI 2019: The workshop is being held outside normal university term time. Therefore there shall be no traffic restrictions in the University. You can park your car within any designated car park in the North Campus. These car parks will be clearly marked. However, you must park in a designated parking space. Illegal or dangerous parking will get you into trouble. There will be enough car parking spaces available. We advise that delegates use CAR PARK #1 which is directly opposite the Callan Building.
  • I would like to use Public Transport to reach SFDAI 2019: Maynooth is very well connected to all transportation modes in Ireland: rail, bus, and cycle. The University website has a dedicated section on transportation options. If you need some detailed information on getting here by public transportation we recommend that you consult these pages.

Imagery from GIScience Research Group @ University of Heidelberg — Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors

Photograph of the Callan Building

This is the Callan Building, Maynooth University This is a photograph of the pedestrian entrance to the Callan Building on the North Campus of Maynooth University. This building will be the first building on your right-hand-side when you drive into the North Campus, from the Kilcock Road entrance.

SFDAI 2019: Contact Information

We are delighted to answer any questions you might have related to SFDAI 2019. If you cannot find the information you require from this website please let us know. You can contact both of the SFDAI 2019 Workshop Organisers by email as follows:
Peter Mooney: peter DOT mooney AT mu DOT ie
Liadh Kelly: liadh DOT kelly AT mu DOT ie.

Please contact us if you have specific questions about:

Frequently Asked Questions: SFDAI 2019

  • Will there be WiFi access at SFDAI 2019? Yes, all participants will be provided with complimentary, hi-speed WiFi access within the University.
  • Why do I need to register for SFDAI 2019, if the event is free? We need all participants to register in order for us to get all of the logistics and organisation right for everyone on the day. We need to be able to accurately know how many people we'll need for catering, tea/coffee breaks, room sizes etc.
  • Do I need to be a techie, computer programmer, or scientist to participate? While we welcome computer programmers and scientists and others to attend and participate we do not assume any specific level of technological proficiency - all we assume is that you are somehow interested or involved in Smart Farming!
  • Do I need to stay for the entire day? Ideally, we would like all of our participants at SFDAI 2019 to stay for the entire day. However, we do realise that everyone has committments and their own schedules. In this respect the programme is flexible if you need to leave during the day.

1st National Workshop on Smart Farming and Data Analytics in Ireland 2019