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[Podcast] Steve Wangan: What is the Dairy Brain project?

Progressive Dairy Published on 28 September 2021

What data does your farm generate? Where is it going? How could it make your farm more profitable? 

A research group at the University of Wisconsin – Madison aims to answer those questions. Their work is called the Dairy Brain project. 

In this episode, you’ll hear from one of the researchers involved: Steve Wangan. He is a data scientist at the American Family Insurance Data Science Institute at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He works with analytics and software development. The overarching goal of the Dairy Brain project is to take research that is done at the university and hook it up with farmers’ data streams through a web interface so they can use it to help them make better decisions for their individual farms. You’ll learn what are the most difficult obstacles to moving data from off the farm and why there is a need to agree to some data standardization for on-farm data entry. 

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Season 3, Episode 32


Here is a breakdown of the episode:

  • Tell us a little about your background and what your role in the Dairy Brain project is. [~2:15]
  • What have you learned about the dairy industry through your work with the Dairy Brain project? [~3:00]
  • What is the Dairy Brain project? [~4:00]
  • What are the challenges of building an analytics platform for the dairy industry? [~5:30]
  • What excites you most about this project? [~8:40]
  • What’s the best way to define if your team is eventually successful or not with this project? [~9:30]
  • When will the data analytics platform you are building be available? [~11:00]
  • Explain the present-day challenges with collecting dairy data. [~12:30]
  • Who should own data in the dairy industry? [~17:45]
  • What’s a small action that one of our listeners could take that would help align them with the bigger mission you are working on? [~20:45]
  • Describe the difference between descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics. What are examples of what your group will be able to provide first to farmers? [~24:00]
  • If you could wave a magic wand and change anything, what one thing would you change that would make this project easier? [~27:30]
  • Where can people go to follow what the Dairy Brain is doing? [~29:30]


Follow the Dairy Brain project online:


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