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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WHATS IN YOUR LIVESTOCK SHED

WIYLS visits the only off-grid milking robot in the UK

A Welsh farm is milking cows in a robot powered by a standalone renewable energy system after it was forced to relocate to a remote site when its rented dairy…

DAIRY

3 simple adjustments to improve cow health and yield

When George Allen took on the family’s Abbey Farm, in Whitchurch, last year, he was eager to put new ideas in place. But as a young farmer without much capital,…

FARM ENERGY

How a dairy farmer cut electricity costs by £2,000 a year

Suffolk dairy farmer Jonny Crickmore has reduced electricity costs by almost £2,000 annually using energy from an unexpected source – the bedding in the cow shed. Fen Farm’s expansion into…

WHATS IN YOUR LIVESTOCK SHED

WIYLS visits a £300,000 self-build cubicle shed

An automatic ventilation system capable of refreshing air in the entire building in just 90 seconds is one of the factors that has enabled a Welsh dairy farm to slash…

DAIRY

Purpose-built shed helps goat farm cut weaning age

Investing in a purpose-built rearing shed and adjusting kid management protocols have helped goat milk producer Will Frost to reduce age at weaning by up to two weeks. The 2019…

HOUSING AND HANDLING

How dairy farmer has improved post-calving health

Dedicated housing for transition cows has improved post-calving cow health at a Welsh dairy farm. John and Anna Booth invested in the new facility at Rhual Dairy, an AHDB Strategic…

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…