Dairy Research Partnership: investing in the future

Levy-funded research and development plays an important role in achieving a more sustainable future by improving technical efficiency, reducing costs of production and retaining positive consumer perceptions of dairy farming.

Dairy Research Partnership 2016-2021

On 1 June 2016, the five-year Dairy Research Partnership initiative began. It was funded by AHDB Dairy (£1,700,000) with financial contributions from the academic partners - University of Nottingham, Harper Adams University, Royal Veterinary College and SRUC - bringing the total to £2,100,000. 

Online conference

We are running an online conference from 22 November to 26 November where you can hear first hand some of the results from the Research Partnership. Find out more and book your place at the conference.

What did the research partnership involve?

The partnership, led by University of Nottingham, addresses three of our strategic priorities:

  1. Feed efficiency and sustainability
  2. Optimising cow performance through health & welfare
  3. Creating a positive image for dairy farming.

The Dairy Research Partnership was split into seven work packages:

1. Feed efficiency

To quantify components of feed efficiency at the whole-herd level under a range of production and feeding systems and translate these into practical tools for use on farms.

2. Copper nutrition

To improve the health and performance of GB dairy cows through improved copper nutrition.

3. Low protein diets

To reduce the reliance on purchased protein and decrease the environmental impact using diets based on high-protein, home-grown forage legumes while maintaining performance.

4. Mastitis analysis tool

To produce a mastitis pattern report that allows farmers and vets to assess and prioritise the key management areas and potentially detect emerging problems.

5. The housed cow environment

To quantify the impact of space on cow health, productivity and profitability, evaluate different housing design options and explore consumer perceptions.

6. Early life management on the risk of Johne’s

To identify the most important early life risk factors for Johne’s disease and the costs and benefits of culling cows that test positive.

7. Foot health

To collate and evaluate current GB claw trimming practices and provide clear recommendations to on-farm foot trimmers conducting routine preventative trimming.

Dairy Research partnership 2011-2016

In 2011, the AHDB Dairy board decided to forge a new way of working between British dairy scientists and dairy farmers. The board committed £5m to a five-year programme of cutting-edge research, of which:

  • £2.5m focused on herd health, welfare, and nutrition in partnership with the University of Nottingham and
  • £2.5m focused on soils, grassland and forage in partnership with SRUC.