What to see at Dairy-Tech 2020

Exploiting satellite intelligence, weighing cattle with a camera and a debate on low- versus high-input farm systems are just some of the must-sees at Dairy-Tech 2020.

The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers’ (RABDF) event at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, on 5 February has become a key date in the farming calendar.

Event details

  • Date: Wednesday 5 February
  • Time: 8am-5:30pm
  • Venue: Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire CV8 2LZ
  • Tickets: Free for RABDF members and under-16s with proof of age. Prices for non-members are £17 when booked in advance at dairy-tech.uk or £20 at the gate. Concessions are available for students.
  • Contact: office@rabdf.co.uk or 02476 639 317

RABDF managing director Matt Knight said feedback from last year’s 6,000 visitors showed that 90% planned to return in 2020.

Mr Knight says the event, specifically devised to focus on innovation, technology and new concepts, has already attracted more than 300 exhibitors, 76 speakers and 55 new products to this year’s show.

The aim is to help make UK dairy businesses mores sustainable and competitive by showcasing new thinking and ideas, he explains.

As well as ground-breaking concepts such as the use of satellite mapping, biological solutions to reduce emissions and robots, visitors will be able to hear from experts on a range of topics including: environmental issues, obtaining net zero, the nutritional value of milk and dairy vision for 2030.

Dairy-Tech is divided into four key areas:

  1. Science, technology and innovation Hall 1, hosts the Innovation Hub – a short presentation seminar packed full of dynamic and tech-focused speakers
  2. Business efficiencies Hall 2, includes the Dairy Hub – with high-profile speakers on key topics
  3. Practical Hall 3, includes the Skills Studio – the one-stop-shop for students and new entrants and those looking to develop their skills

  4. Machinery and innovation hall – new for 2020, showcases the latest tractors and kit available along with live demonstrations including foot-trimming and thermal imaging.

Hub must-sees

Sessions across both hubs will aim to answer questions on how innovation and artificial intelligence will contribute to dairy businesses in the future, what best practice can do to reduce slurry emissions, the role of genetics in health and sustainability, and the key drivers for efficiency.

Dairy Hub

The Dairy Hub will offer advice, political insight, guidance, knowledge and take-home messages for current on-farm issues.

Cumbria farmer Robert Craig and Dave Craven from Grosvenor Farms will debate the pros and cons of low- versus high-input systems.

The dairy farmers – Mr Craig, a grass-based milk producer, and Mr Craven, a higher input, high genetic breeding, proponent – will also highlight the green credentials of their systems and what measures they have undertaken to reduce carbon emissions.

Sessions start at 9am.

Innovation Hub

The Innovation Hub covers a huge range of front-line issues with advances in nutrition, improving fertiliser use and a look at upcoming technical innovations.

One of the key innovations on show is Rezatec’s satellite-based grass management system. Grass SAT monitors more than 20 different datasets, including weather, soil, satellite information and management inputs.

The program makes 100s of complex calculations many times a day, to provide valuable information on soil properties, grass characteristics grass growth rates and the wedge available in kg/ha of dry matter.

Sessions start at 9:30am.

Skills must-sees

After a popular launch last year, the Skills Studio returns to Hall 3 in 2020.

The studio is a one-stop-shop for students, new entrants and anyone looking to develop their skills.

It will feature a CV clinic, an interactive jobs board, an in-depth look into apprenticeships and presentations of prestigious RABDF student awards.

There will be a Q&A with the Cream Awards Young Farmer finalists, business planning and succession planning sessions, as well as a student competition with a cash prize.

Sessions start at 9am.

Animal health must-sees


New for this year is a series of animal health workshops, sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.

Experts will cover TB, calf health and mastitis.

Sarah Tomlinson, technical board director at the TB Advisory Service, will focus on how a dairy farm is affected by a TB breakdown.

Ms Tomlinson will explain how the impact can be reduced, the extra costs involved in protecting a herd and what long-term solutions are available to build resilience.

First session 10am.

Foot-trimming demonstrations

Cattle lameness is among the most significant welfare and productivity issues faced by UK dairy farmers and the event will again host foot-trimming demonstrations, sponsored by VetPartners.

The demos will showcase the use of Miracle-Tech’s thermal imaging to detect lameness problems that are invisible to the human eye.

Specialist vets will be on hand, alongside the foot-trimmer, to identify and outline the cause, treatments and preventative measures available to combat lameness.

Health & Wellbeing

Another new venture for 2020 is the Health & Wellbeing zone, offering a welcoming drop-in area for anyone wishing to discuss concerns about their business, money, family life, physical or mental health with qualified volunteers.

Machinery and Innovation Hall

The event’s brand new Machinery and Innovation Hall will host test-drive demo slots throughout the day, giving visitors a chance to “try before you buy” opportunity.

The slots will be staggered across specific time slots in an exclusive area of the event and include Kubota, Armatrac, Case, IAE and King Feeders.

Award winners must-sees

Gold Cup

The NMR/RABDF Gold Cup competition will reach its final stage when the winning farm business is crowned on the NMR stand.

The shortlisted businesses include a range of farm sizes and types from cross-bred herds, an organic system, summer-grazed and year-round housed herds.

The finalists are:

  • Becci Berry, Brimstone Farm, Coleshill, Swindon, Wiltshire
  • Elizabeth Birkett, Rookhaye Farm, Bowerchalke, Salisbury, Wiltshire
  • Firm of Bryce Sloan, Darnlaw Farm, Auchinleck, Ayrshire
  • The Harvey family, Drum Farm, Beeswing, Dumfries
  • Stowell Farms, West Stowell, Marlborough, Wiltshire
  • Andrew King, Barrington Organic Partnership, Barrington, Ilminster, Somerset

Winners announced on NMR stand at 4:10pm.

The Royal Dairy Innovation Award

The award recognises the most practical, relevant product or service that is, or likely to be, the most significant innovation for the future of dairying from a Dairy-Tech 2020 exhibitor.

Three companies make up the shortlist: 

  • Herdwatch – smartphone-based livestock management system

  • Miracle Tech/Agroninja – Beefie digital image cattle weighing system

  • Zoetis – Clarifide Plus genomic testing system, including health traits

Winners will be announced at 3.55pm in the Innovation Hub.

Personalised itinerary service and Dairy Pro points

Seminars and workshops at Dairy-Tech are eligible for Dairy Pro points.

Registered Dairy Pro members can collect points, which will be recorded against their personal and business profiles.

To become a member, register at the AHDB stand.

All pre-booked tickets are eligible for Dairy-Tech’s personalised itinerary service as long as registrations are submitted by 31 January 2020.

The itineraries are in place to ensure visitors use their time efficiently and earmark relevant seminars and exhibitors.

Itineraries will be emailed out ahead of the event.

For more information, visit the Dairy-Tech website.

Dairy-Tech app

The free Dairy-Tech app has been created to provide visitor information, floorplans, exhibitor lists, hub schedules and a summary of all new product launches.

There will be reminder notifications sent out via the app for all the main hub sessions, and the opportunity to vote for the best stand.

Download the Elements Events Portal from the App Store and enter event code: dairytech2020