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Dairy farmers hear of ways to make their industry sustainable

By Mike Bridgen | Darlington & Stckton Times

A HEAT recovery system and robotic milking parlour were among a number of labour and cost-saving measures featured in a demonstration to dairy farmers.

Peter Hull, chief executive of Farmway, organised the seminar and demonstration at Piercebridge.

The seminar was in response to the Milk Roadmap which is designed to help understand the environmental, social and economic impact of milk and how these can be instigated without adversely affecting the long-term sustainability of the sector.

It involves all the key stakeholders and is co-ordinated by DEFRA under the Dairy Supply Chain Forum.

Mr Hull said: “It is important that if this incentive is to be successful all avenues of help are examined.”

Hadrian Farm Services demonstrated their heat recovery system, which enables farmers to produce “free” hot water for use in dairy parlours.

Malcolm Archer, managing director, said the system captures heat used in the cooling process of milk, rather than letting it escape.

Coupled with a solar system, it provides two sources of heating the hot water which dairy farmers need to meet hygiene regulations.

He said: “As dairy farmers use up to 200 gallons of hot water per day, the savings are significant and it reduces their carbon footprint.”

Brian Crutchley, Fullwood area sales manager, explained the benefits of their Merlin 225 robotic milking machine.

He said the machine offers the dairy farmer a different lifestyle while maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare and management information to ensure maximum efficiency and profitability.

The latest technology means that every time a cow visits the machine its health is fully checked which, tests had shown, increased the milk yield, yet also quickly highlights any potential problems.

The herd still needs managing but it can be done during hours which suit the farmer, rather than dictated by the routines of twice daily milking.

The feed system is also totally managed for each individual animal and closely monitored against performance.

Brian Healey, Farmway feed sales manager, said they could help examine the overall nutritional picture of a herd.

He said: “Using analyses of grass, wholecrop and maize silages, along with other out-ofparlour feed and assessing the animal’s requirements from its potential, we can design a feeding system to meet the animal’s performance.”

Peter Whittal-Williams, Volac’s key account business manager, highlighted the benefits of various calf feeding stations and how they could be tailored to individual requirements.

A computerised system fully automates the feeding regimes while producing all the necessary information to ensure healthy calves.

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