Rodway Farm on Bridgwater and Taunton College’s Cannington Campus is a commercial operation extending to over 200 hectares, providing arable, pasture and conservation areas while being home to several specialist livestock enterprises, including the dairy herd, which produces 9,500 litres of milk per cow per year.
Their ‘Think Cow’ initiative promotes a shared mantra that encourages everyone - tutors, employees and students alike - to put the needs and well-being of the cows first. They have submitted some excellent examples of their activities to our We Are Dairy Award, and we are delighted to share them with you.
- Changing the cubicle layout to improve cow flow on leaving the milking parlour means cows don’t have to wait to return to feed or cubicles.
- Changing the cubicle bedding from sawdust to chopped straw has increased laying times. In addition, the resultant waste is also a better fertiliser and is improving soil organic matter.
- Installing new equipment to push up silage, resulting in an additional litre of milk per cow per day.
- Utilising small feed bins, so feed can be purchased without the need for bags.
- All dairy chemicals are now purchased in IBCs, which are returned to the supplier and reused, rather than drums.
- Investment in an artificial insemination service company to undertake all fertility work within the herd has seen pregnancy rates rise from 16% to 25% in 8 months.
- Lights and fans are being installed in the main cubicle building to improve the herd’s living environment which is expected to increase milk production.
The initiatives described were implemented over a period of two to three months with an investment of more than £20,000 in total to great effect. Milk production has increased, waste has reduced, and the welfare and well-being of the cows have improved.
Find out how to enter the We Are Dairy Award.