Transformational tech for dairy

Published: February 7, 2024

The UK Agri-Tech Centre has outlined how they are contributing to transformational technology, innovation and research to help the dairy industry meet some of its biggest challenges.

Centre experts and project partners took part in the Science and Research panel session at Dairy Tech 2024 outlining their work on methane reduction, grazing measurement and management, milking equipment disinfection and cow lameness alongside core funder, Innovate UK.

The Agri-Tech Centres have helped position the UK at the forefront of research into dairy cow health, welfare and nutrition by investing in state-of-the art facilities at the Centre for Dairy Science Innovation at the University of Nottingham, the South West Dairy Development Centre and Duchy College. Agri-Tech Centre CIEL has undertaken ground-breaking research to demonstrate what farmers can do now to reduce emissions, but also, critically to identify the shortfall in research and technology.

Dairy projects covered in the session and on the Agri-Tech Centres’ and Innovate UK’s shared stand included:

  • Dancing with Daffodils, a four-year feasibility study which aims to reduce global methane emissions by up to 30% by 2030 via a daffodil-derived feed additive;
  • Grasscheck GB, which helps gauge grass availability, livestock performance and the feed value of well-managed grassland;
  • Agribot, who are harnessing the power of AI for grass growth measurement;
  • Antler Bio, who are using CIEL’s networks to stress test their technology, bringing it from concept to practical use;
  • Oxi-Tech, who have partnered with Agri-Tech Centre Agri-EPI in their bid to develop chemical-free disinfection for robotic milking; and
  • Hoofcount who are also working with Agri-EPI to test and trial computer vision and machine learning to detect and monitor cow lameness.

Phil Bicknell, CEO of the future merged Agri-Tech Centres, who took part in the panel session said: “Dairy is hardwired into much of our past, current and future work. The dairy industry has big challenges and is in the firing line for sustainable criteria; our approach is to work with the industry to respond to its own priorities. In practice, this is exemplified by the projects we presented here today or fellow panellists with whom we’re working.

“We are making significant steps forward for a diverse and fragmented industry; an industry that is a key part of our economy. The UK’s food and drink industry is the biggest manufacturing sector, larger than automotive and aerospace combined, with dairy making up 20% of that sector.

“We’re at a pivotal stage for agri-food and for the Agri-Tech Centres. We’re in the process of merging to create the largest dedicated agri-tech organisation in the UK. In a hugely complex and challenging subject area, we’re pulling together unrivalled expertise and know-how. Having a transformational impact for the dairy sector means working with more people, more organisations and broadening our network.”

For more information please contact sarah.anderson@ukagritechcentre.com