7 must-see cutting-edge farm innovations at Dairy-Tech

The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers’ brand-new Dairy-Tech event will be launched on 7 February 2018 at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire.

It promises to be a showcase for groundbreaking technology to help boost productivity and performance, as well as a hub for technical advice and guidance to help dairy farmers face problems they may be experiencing on farm.

With so much to see at the jam-packed event, visitors are being advised to pre-book tickets online.

Those who do will be eligible for a personalised itinerary service, a copy of which will be emailed out ahead of the event. This will match visitors up with the categories of interest they outlined during registration, as well as suggesting the most relevant seminars, exhibitions and workshops to attend. 

We take a look at some of the highlights the event has to offer.

Floating farm

© Beladon

1. Dutch Floating Farm

Detailed plans of the world’s first floating farm, to be built in Rotterdam, will be unveiled at the Innovation Hub by Minke van Wingerden, of construction company and developer Beladon.

The farm is the brainchild of Peter Beladon, the company’s chief executive, who wanted to bring food production to the city. The £2m, 1,000sq m structure will house Montbeliarde cattle producing 800 litres of milk a day, initially for the liquid market, before it switches to yogurt or Comté-style cheese production.

2. Gold Cup

The prestigious NMR/RABDF Gold Cup competition will reach its climax at 4pm on the NMR stand with the presentation of the 2017 award to the winning farm business.

This year’s competition has been opened up to a wider range of producers and the shortlisted six include two block-calving, grassland-based herds, two high-production Holstein herds, a Channel Island herd and a grass-based, block-calving herd milked once a day.


© Tim Scrivener

3. Drone demos and advice

Dr Ivan Gove, lecturer in precision agronomy at Harper Adams University, and drone operators from Bexcopter will answer questions and provide advice on what this developing technology can offer a dairy business.

The benefits of aerial mapping, cattle monitoring and weed mapping to target herbicides more effectively to infested areas of grassland will all be explained during two seminars at the Innovation Hub. System supplier and pilot trainers Drone AG will also provide flying demos around the event site from their stand (I59).

4. Demonstrations

Dairy equipment manufacturer Lely will showcase its Astronaut milking robot using six to eight halter-trained cattle that will be milked on the hour, every hour. The company will also give a sneak preview of its brand-new robotic scraper, due for release early in 2019.

Visitors will also have the chance to see Harper Adams University’s Hands-Free Hectare kit in action (on screen) – the world’s first autonomous combine harvester. Engineers from the project will be available to answer questions about their work, its aims, its future goals and successes to date.

5. 3D Printing

IDtechEx technology analyst Bryony Core will answer questions on the future on-farm uses for 3D printing during an Innovation Hub seminar. Meanwhile, a working 3D printer in the Tech Zone area of the show will demonstrate how replacement parts for equipment can be manufactured. The potential could be a huge saving in downtime spent waiting for new parts to be delivered.

6. Purifying slurry and reducing volume

Coleg Sir Gâr’s Gelli Aur agricultural campus and Power & Water, a Swansea-based company specialising in electrochemical water treatments, will set out their joint project to produce a dewatering and purification system to manage slurry.

During an Innovation Hub seminar, Coleg Sir Gâr’s John Owen and Power & Water’s chief operations officer Gareth Morgan will explain how the project will ultimately lead to a reduction in air and water pollution and cut slurry volumes by up to 80%. The system will transform the slurry into water, clean enough to recycle or discharge into a watercourse.

7. Genomics

Levi Gassaway, genomics guru and assistant manager of a 7,000-head dairy in Washingston state, USA, will be sharing his experiences of using genetic data in a commercial dairy environment to inform breeding decisions.

He will also be talking about the importance of making sure genomic programmes go hand in hand with good cow management to ensure animals express their full genetic potential.