Health, productivity, profit and the housed environment


Key outcomes

  1. To quantify the impact of space on cow health, productivity and profitability
  2. To evaluate different housing design options to meet the lying requirements of dairy cows
  3. To Explore consumer perceptions and cultural values of housing, management and well-being of dairy cows


  • This work will help to inform farmers of the best areas to change in order to improve cow health, productivity and profitability, as well as helping to improve animal welfare.
  • Improvement in animal health and welfare will undoubtedly yield economic benefits for the farmer, as well as being better for the individual animals. In addition, the solid science behind this work will help to alleviate consumer concerns around animal welfare, and will promote the dairy industry in a positive light as it seeks to improve.
Project code:
01 June 2016 - 01 May 2021
AHDB Dairy, University of Nottingham, Harper Adams University, SRUC
AHDB sector cost:
Total project value:
Project leader:
University of Nottingham, Harper Adams University, SRUC

About this project

The GB dairy industry has received media attention in recent years, specifically around the housing of cattle. Unfortunately, a gap in knowledge around the benefits of cattle housing has meant that consumer concerns cannot be addressed from a scientific basis. Animal fertility, productivity, health and welfare can be evaluated to provide a solid scientific foundation for discussions surrounding animal welfare in the housed environment.


Thompson et al., 2020. Field survey to evaluate space allowances for dairy cows in Great Britain. Journal of Dairy Science, 103, 3745-3759

Jackson et al., 2020. Is it just about grazing? UK citizens have diverse preferences for how dairy cows should be managed. Journal of Dairy Science, 103, 3250 -3263

Shewbridge-Carter et al., 2021. Dairy cow trade-off preference for 2 different lying qualities: Lying surface and lying space. Journal of Dairy Science, 2014, 862-873

Better way of measuring reveals ideal dairy cow living space. Farmers Weekly May 2020