Dairy Research Partnership - Phase II


Profitable, consumer friendly dairy farming is underpinned by good health and welfare.

Through our research partnerships, AHDB Dairy is funding research into specific diseases such as lameness, mastitis, and Johne's Disease, as well as improved strategies for vaccination and biosecurity. Some of the expected outputs will feed directly into programmes such as the AHDB Dairy Mastitis Control Plan and AHDB Dairy Healthy Feet Programme.

Increasingly consumers are interested in the welfare status of production systems. We are also setting out to obtain better data on the incidence and prevalence of key health conditions affecting the GB dairy herd. This will create a baseline, which can be used to measure, direct and communicate future improvements in the health status of the national herd.

Research is being undertaken to devise practical and effective ways of measuring welfare outcomes in dairy cattle. AHDB Dairy is also funding research into the effect of social interaction between cows on health and productivity. This includes specific aspects of management and husbandry, including management group size.

01 June 2016 - 31 May 2021
AHDB sector cost:
Total project value:
Project leader:
University of Nottingham, Harper Adams University, SRUC

About this project

Aims and Obsjectives
1. 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. To improve the health and performance of GB dairy cows through improved copper nutrition.
3. To reduce the reliance on purchased protein and decrease the environmental impact of dairy farming using diets based on high protein, home grown forage legumes
4. To refine and automate the current method of making a ‘herd diagnosis’ for  the AHDB Mastitis Control Plan such that, based on herd data, mastitis issues on a unit can be identified, quantified and prioritised to enable effective targeting of control measures.
5. Assess profitable, effective and sustainable environments for dairy cattle; the future of dairy cow housing
6. To identify the most important early life risk factors for Johne’s disease and the costs and benefits of culling cows that test positive in order to enable informed decision making by dairy farmers on disease prevention and control.
7. 1. Evaluate significant aspects of claw trimming technique in a randomised controlled clinical trial to inform on-farm best practice
7.2. Conduct a long term (~3 years) randomised, negatively controlled clinical trial to evaluate the impact of targeted treatment with anti-inflammatories  i) after calving and  ii) at the time of key lameness events throughout lactation, on an animals long term future of lameness incidence and production
7.3. Provide a detailed characterization of the digital cushion using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and investigate the impact of body condition score and lifetime lameness events on its structure and function to inform prevention strategies