AHDB reveals new research for the dairy industry


The findings of research funded by AHDB will be presented to industry at an online conference in November.

The research has been carried out as part of its five-year Dairy Research Partnership, led by the University of Nottingham.

Dr Jenny Gibbons, Animal Health and Welfare Senior Scientist at AHDB, said: “The research partnership has played an important role in helping to achieve a more sustainable future for the dairy industry. It is aimed at improving efficiency on farm, reducing costs of production as well as making sure consumer perceptions of dairy farming remain positive.”

The online conference will be made up of seven sessions, running from Monday 22 November 2021 until Friday 26 November 2021. During the sessions, delegates will hear from researchers on their findings and how these could benefit their businesses.

The partnership focused on three key areas:

Feed efficiency and sustainability

Research findings include where savings can be made through feed efficiency and sustainability by making the most of home-grown forages to reduce conventional sources of protein. A Whole Farm Feed Efficiency Tool has been developed, which shows how a 10% improvement in the utilisation of feed could increase profit margins by 7.4%.

Health and Welfare

Results include the largest study of sole soft tissue thickness measurements to investigate lameness. How focusing on fresh cow and heifer management can help eradicate lameness, as well as new thinking around when cows might transmit Johne’s to their calves, which may go some way to explaining current difficulties in eradicating the disease from herds.

Reputation of the dairy industry

The current consumer perceptions of the dairy industry have been investigated, including the underlying causes of these perceptions and what industry can do to help shoppers make educated choices.

Dr Gibbons said: “We have had some important results come out of the partnership which are helping farmers identify and solve issues they are having on farm, including our mastitis pattern analysis tool which helps farmers identify patterns of mastitis in their herd.

“Our research has also identified the most important early life risk factors for Johne’s Disease, including their relative importance which will help farmers make important management decisions.”