Know How / Dairy / Housing and handling

Dairy housing, handling and milking parlours are areas of major investment for a farm business. Read about the key developments in dairy buildings, robot milkers, cubicle design, bedding, hygiene, ventilation systems, calf housing and handling equipment including crushes, crates and weigh scales.

Case studies

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DAIRY

Dairy's chemical-free disinfectant delivers multiple benefits

A dairy farm in Norfolk has replaced chemical disinfectants with a system using only water and low-voltage electricity. This has helped reduce the farm’s carbon footprint, improved cow health, delivered…

BREEDING AND FERTILITY

How a new transition shed helped lift pregnancy rates to 35%

Pregnancy rates have climbed from 28% to 35% since the Cope family improved transition cow accommodation.  Before buying the neighbouring Adderley Lodge Farm in November 2019, transition space was a…

LIVESTOCK

Flooring improvements help dairy unit cut lameness by 10%

New housing for 400 cows and improvements to older buildings at Grant Hartman’s dairy farm have done much to improve cow comfort and lameness. Cubicles have deep sand beds, suitable…

DAIRY

How Dorset new entrants built a dairy for £350 a cow

Chalky soils and robust, small cow breeds make it possible for Tom Foot and Neil Grigg to graze 600 dairy cows for most of the year. They winter their spring-calving…

WHATS IN YOUR LIVESTOCK SHED

WIYLS goes inside Duchy College’s £3.6m dairy unit

Improved cow comfort and a better feeding regime have boosted milk yields by 2 litres a cow a day at Duchy College, Cornwall. The "Future Farm" research facility, which houses…

HOUSING AND HANDLING

Two autumn calvers compare calf housing options

Block-calving dairy farmers need sufficient accommodation to house large number of calves in a short number of weeks, with their options ranging from temporary structures such as polytunnels to purpose-built…

Practical advice

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DAIRY

7 reasons mastitis is more challenging in automatic milking

Automatic milking systems are growing in popularity due to the lifestyle benefits they afford farmers. But independent research shows udder health can deteriorate when farms transition from conventional milking systems…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

3 steps to reduce mastitis risk in dairy cows at housing

Winter housing can increase mastitis by heightening the risk of environmental infections. Vet James Breen explains what data to monitor and measure, what targets to aim for and how to…

HOUSING AND HANDLING

How to light dairy parlours for cows, staff and milk quality

Lighting in and around the parlour will influence how well a cow milks. However, the impact of lighting on the smooth operation of the milking process is often not given…

DAIRY

Advice on carrying out a dynamic dairy parlour test

A dynamic parlour test is an ideal opportunity to take a milking parlour for a "test drive" and identify ways in which it can be improved and made more efficient.…

DAIRY

4 easy mistakes to make in the milking parlour

Dairy workers and farmers are experts at what they do, but after a while on the job it can be easy to slip into bad habits in the milking parlour…

HOUSING AND HANDLING

Tips for upgrading your old dairy parlour

Upgrading parlours has recently grown in popularity, with many farmers opting to improve those built in the 1980s and 1990s rather than replacing them completely. It’s not surprising given the…

Insights

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HOUSING AND HANDLING

Video: Inside a state-of-the-art transition cow shed

One USA dairy has converted a shed, originally built for calves, into a state-of-the-art facility for transition cows. The shed at George DeRuyter & Sons dairy in Sunnyside, Washington State,…

HOUSING AND HANDLING

Better way of measuring reveals ideal dairy cow living space

A new on-farm measurement for dairy cow buildings, known as living space, has been developed to provide a better understanding of space allowances for adult dairy cows. Researchers believe living…

HEALTH AND WELFARE

6 things I learned from visiting US 'mega-dairies'

Dairy farming in the US has become synonymous with the words “mega-dairy”. While the scale of US dairy farms bears little resemblance to UK operations, there are some striking similarities…

FEED AND NUTRITION

Research shows benefits of pair housing calves pre-weaning

Pair housing calves before weaning can help them adapt better to different situations as they mature, leading to improved concentrate intakes and higher growth compared with those housed alone. Professor…

LIVESTOCK

How to choose the right winter bedding for dairy cows

Is one bedding system better than an other in terms of cow health and production? Research carried out by the University of Wisconsin suggests not. Trial work looking at 16…