Future Farm

‘Future Farm’ to redefine dairy research and learning

A £3m dairy research centre will open at Duchy College in autumn 2020, driving improvements in efficiency, technology, animal health and welfare, and environmental best practice.

The two-acre facility will include a host of features, including an ability to split the College’s commercial Holstein Friesians into three mini herds, allowing measuring and comparison of different management techniques.

There will be a computerised, precision-control feeding system, plus an ability to separate slurry and manure from the different groups of animals, allowing multiple research projects to be run simultaneously – including ones exploring the storage, spreading and treatment of slurry and manure.

Sited on land the College rents from Prince Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall estate, the centre will see researchers collaborate with scientists from other world-leading centres, while also acting as a learning platform for Duchy students and a demonstration farm.

Status: Active (2019)

Bovine Tuberculosis (bTB)

Bovine tuberculosis research seeks ‘joined-up’ solutions  

New approaches to tackling bovine tuberculosis (bTB) are being explored in a Duchy College Rural Business School project.

It explores more effective biocontainment measures, along with the development of hardware and software tools to improve the services offered by vets to identify, measure, understand and control infections.

Focusing on larger, mainly-housed herds, a particular aim is to understand more about the role slurry plays in animal-to-animal transmission, particularly to calves.

Involving collaboration with farmers and vets, the work could yield a new approach to testing for – and controlling – the costly and vexed disease in a ‘joined-up’ way.

For further information, please email Rachel Abrahall on rachel.abrahall@duchy.ac.uk or call 07877035795.

Status: Active (2018) | Budget: £153k

Precision Management of Dairy Cow Bolus Project

This project seeks to utilise new technologies to stimulate farmer knowledge development. Rumen temperature data will be linked with cow health and welfare, reproductive management and milk production data. Joining up the datasets should enable more timely and more precise management interventions.

The Bella Ag system will be used across four dairy herds demonstrating different systems of production; other parameters will be recorded including temperature, wind, precipitation and relative humidity.  The project also aims to confirm the on-farm practicality of the system. Smart data processing expertise will be used to review data collect systems and make recommendations on further processing to produce valuable metrics.

Precision management is a key goal for farming in order to maximise efficiency. Intensive dairy farms lend themselves to the collection of precision data, but there has been less take-up of this technology on grassland dairy farms. Furthermore, the effect of greater environmental variation on grassland farms likely means that precision data will reveal somewhat different relationships with other animal or environmental variables.

For further information, please contact Rachel Abrahall at; rachel.abrahall@duchy.ac.uk / 07877035795

Status: Active (2018)

Agri-tech Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly

Agri-tech Cornwall is a £10m initiative to create a new sector for the Cornish economy, helping the United Kingdom become a world leader in agricultural technology, and sustainability..

We will support ambitious small and medium-sized Cornish companies develop innovations to improve efficiency, profitability and resilience in the agricultural sector – in field or moor, forest or shore.

Agricultural technologies can be any innovation that makes agriculture more efficient and productive, more resilient and secure, more profitable, and better able to enhance and protect the natural environment and those that farm it.

The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is open to all small to medium-sized Cornish businesses.

This is a unique opportunity to develop and apply new technologies assisted by project partners, research grants and graduate placements.

Status: Active (2016) | Budget: £10,000,000

Dairy-4-Future

Are you a progressive dairy farmer?

From Scotland to the Azores, Dairy-4-Future aims to increase the competitiveness, sustainability and resilience of dairy farms through the development of innovative and efficient dairy systems. This is an EU funded project with a consortium of eleven partners from the Atlantic region of Western Europe. The dairy sector in the Atlantic Area is of major economic importance accounting for 20% of European milk production with approximately 80,000 farms, 100,000 farmers, and 70,000 other people employed in dairy related jobs. Dairy-4-Future aims to create a network of innovative dairy farms for countries in the Atlantic coast area including: Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, France, Spain, Portugal and the Azores.

Ten south-west dairy farmers have the unique opportunity to become involved in this new and exciting project looking at how to improve the long term future of dairying in Western Europe.

Are you one of them?

  • Is dairy your main enterprise and are you amongst the top economic performers?
  • Does your farm have good technical and environmental performance?
  • Are you a motivated farmer keen to travel to visit other farms in the UK and Europe?
  • Are you innovative, progressive and keen on research and development?
  • Are you committed to improving natural resource efficiency on your farm?
  • Do you have good record keeping and prepared to anonymously share your data?

The involvement of 10 pilot dairy farms from each region is critical to the success of the project. An initial budget of €2,000 per farm has been allocated for travel for each pilot farmer over the lifetime of the project. This will allow visits to other farms in the network.

The project will run for four years from 2018 until the end of 2021.

The outcomes will include the sharing of knowledge of innovative and efficient dairy systems that have a greater sustainability and resistance to any future increase in volatility in milk prices and climatic hazards while preserving natural resources and mitigating climate and better added value. Recommendations for good practices with fact-sheets ready for uptake by farmers, industries, advisors and public authorities.

If you are interested in being a part of this exciting project please contact Stephen Roderick to discuss further s.roderick@cornwall.ac.uk  Tel: 01209 722148

dairy 4 future partners

Status: Active (2018)

BVD Stamp It Out

BVD Stamp It Out

Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) is an endemic disease which affects cattle. The disease costs dairy and beef businesses an estimated £61 million/year through the loss of performance, infertility, mortalities and slower growth rates.

DEFRA has made available £5.7 million of funding through the Rural Development Funding Programme in England (RDPE), aiming to raise the profile of the BVD virus in England. The project will engage veterinarians and farmers to investigate BVD at farm level, creating action plans to control, reduce and eliminate the disease. Opportunities will also arise to discuss matters with other likeminded farmers, discussing the most effective ways to manage the disease.

The five-step process of BVD Stamp It Out

  • Cluster meeting one: Involves numerous farmers learning about the project and BVD the disease.
  • Vet on farm visit one: Focus on BVD on the farm and check test animals.
  • Vet on farm visit two: Discuss findings of the check test, which may lead to a Persistent Infector (PI) hunt. But indefinitely a plan to reduce, eliminate and prevent the disease.
  • Cluster meeting two: Further involvement of groups of farmers sharing ideas, findings and control strategies.
  • Project survey: About six months after the project, farmers will be asked to complete a short survey on the project.

Testing

Throughout this project all vets’ time will be paid for through RDPE funding, with further subsidy for the check test (£61.80) and about 20% of farmers will be eligible for a PI hunt (£440 maximum). This entire project is available and free to cattle farmers in England.

For further information, please email Holly Yelland on hl@duchy.ac.uk

Status: Active (2018)