New dairy centre relaunched to show cutting edge tech – FarmingUK

Innovators within the dairy industry have relaunched a novel facility in Somerset with an aim to test the newest technology.

The South West Dairy Development Centre (SWDDC) has reopened following an extensive upgrade to install the latest robotic and sensor technology.

New additions include a high-welfare, free access system for cows, integrating Lely A5 robotic milking systems with precision-grazing, while incorporating the existing GEA robotic feeding system.

Agri-tech specialists Agri-EPI, which has relaunched the centre, said it offered ‘a truly innovative environment’ for developing, testing and demonstrating new tech.

Located close to Shepton Mallet in the heart of the region’s milk field, the unit features a typically sized 180-cow herd run on a commercial basis and provides a platform for higher technology readiness level developers.

The building and facilities are run Agri-EPI Centre, while the herd is owned and managed by the Christensen family, trading as Steanbow Farms. and noted throughout the farming community for their efficient dairy and poultry enterprises.

The centre key areas of focus are to provide state-of-the art facilities for research, development and demonstration with an emphasis on optimising productivity

It seeks to integrate robotic milking wth precision grazing, as well as demonstrating profitable and resource efficient milk production techniques.

The centre also demonstrates the highest standards of animal health and welfare and how technology can be used to optimise this.

Steanbow Farms’ Neil Christensen said: “We’re keen to work with Agri-EPI as service providers on our farm. We want the centre to do well which is why we created that relationship in the first place – for the future of the industry.

“A robotic demonstration farm is becoming more and more relevant as the industry tackles ever increasing labour challenges.

“This Centre is demonstrating systems and an approach; it’s a place for technology testing but also knowledge exchange and industry engagement.”

Agri-EPI head of agri-tech, Robert Morrison added: “We look forward to developing new partnerships and projects – both funded and private research.

“[This] will continue our current themes featuring animal health and welfare, environmental sustainability, farm business sustainability, and feed and productivity.”

Please contact the news editor Daniel Wild by emailing or ringing 01484 400666 if you have a query regarding the content of this news article.
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