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Dairy Crest announces new collaborative research project on dairy cow health and welfare

08/09/2014

Dairy Crest is pleased to be part of an exciting new collaboration has been established to drive the innovative application of sensors to improve dairy cow health and welfare. The collaborative project termed DASIE, “Dairy Animal Sensor Integrated Engineering”, has been co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK. The project is being led by industry partner IceRobotics Ltd, a dairy data systems manufacturer, in association with Harper Adams University and dairy farm consultancy Kingshay along with Dairy Crest.

The project will focus on data and farm system integration as well as the development of dedicated sensor technology. The integrated system engineering will enable dairy farmers to improve cattle health and welfare, through the timely and reliable management of health issues concerning individual cows, based on continuous monitoring of specific animal behaviour. This will allow the farmers to take swift action to address health problems before they become more serious and more costly. The types of conditions that will be addressed include fertility problems, lameness and mastitis. The new system will be designed around integration with existing farm systems and equipment, such as milk meters and feed dispensers. As well as systems integration, the project will involve field testing on research farms, economic validation on commercial herds and communication activity for the dairy farming community. This will be vital for farmers to calculate the business impact on their dairy herds - thus helping the dairy industry as a whole to become more competitive in the national and international market.

Commenting on the pioneering project, Robert Boyce, of lead partner IceRobotics, said:

“This is a ground-breaking collaboration which brings together industry-leading dairy players to help farmers use technology to manage their businesses more efficiently whilst also improving animal welfare. All the partners are committed to ensuring that the solutions developed are accessible and affordable to a wide range of farmers and herd sizes – delivering visible and quantifiable results . We’re looking at how providing reliable and robust technology, that integrates with a farm’s existing systems and practices, can lead to valuable management information. This can drive timely action by farm staff, thereby dramatically improving farm profitability and animal welfare.”

Lyndsay Chapman, Director of Agriculture and Communications at Dairy Crest, added:

“It’s great to be part of this cross sector collaboration, with the partners each bringing different skills. We’re committed to developing user-friendly systems for farmers, with technology that is reliable, accurate and accessible on farm – with the aim to further improve cattle health and welfare.”