Launched in October 2018, the state-of-the-art 180-cow dairy facility lies in the heart of South West England’s milk field, Somerset, and offers a fresh vision for the UK dairy industry and platform to study cow behaviour.
The SWDDC uses sensor technology to gather data to maximise precision in many aspects of feeding, production, health and welfare across the farm.
Dairy cow unit
Designed, built and run by independent dairy specialist and Agri-EPI Centre’s industrial partner, Kingshay, the fabric roofed Centre offers excellent natural light levels, ventilation and comfortable lying areas for the herd.
It has enrichment elements such as rotary brushes and cubicles that work to fully optimise the herd’s wellbeing and is fitted with Galebreaker’s curtain wall to better control airflow and better protect the herd from harsh weather conditions.
Kingshay’s K38 and Easyfix cubicles are installed at the SWDDC. All fitted with Easyfix mattresses and bedded on sawdust, the cubicles are designed to ease the movement of the cows from the lying to the milking and feeding areas.
Automated milking and feeding
Three of GEA’s DairyRobot R9500 are installed at the Centre and automatically take care of premium quality milk. The robots consequently free up resources and offer flexibility and high levels of insightful data that is used to support the farm manager in their decision-making.
Feed is distributed via storage bins that are mounted on to weigh cells. GEA’s Mullerup automated feed kitchen delivers pre-programmed quantities multiple times a day. Data is collected and this is use by the farm manager to optimise their supply logistics.
The SWDCC uses hyperspectral imaging and satellite data to monitor and predict grass growth in its surrounding paddocks. In doing so, the herd is exposed to three fresh areas of grazing per day, as well as a network of tracks and flexible paddocks, the cows flow between the paddocks and the GEA’s robot milkers.
A well equipped and connected facility is available for hire. Delegates will also gain access to a guided farm tour by a member of the Centre’s farm team.
For more information about the South West Dairy Development Centre in Somerset, please get in touch with us:
Duncan Forbes (facilities)
Head of Dairy Agri-EPI Centre
Jane Smernicki (media enquiries)
Corporate Communications Manager Agri-EPI Centre