A new state-of-the-art dairy parlour has been installed at Hartpury’s on-campus commercial farm, improving animal welfare and providing agriculture students with hands-on experience of the latest farming technology.
Students studying agriculture diplomas and undergraduate degrees will have access to the advanced facility – a 30/30 GEA BeTeBe Rapid Exit Parlour designed to Hartpury’s own specifications – to provide them with valuable industry experience outside their academic learning.
The new dairy parlour will reduce milking times and improve hygiene and welfare for Hartpury’s award-winning 250-strong herd of dairy cows.
Andrew Eastabrook, Farm Manager at Hartpury, said: “We’re delighted to have upgraded our on-site dairy facilities as part of our strong commitment to maintaining high standards of animal welfare and to keeping our students in touch with the very latest developments within the farming industry.
“It’s important for their future career prospects that our students gain genuine hands-on experience of the latest equipment to provide them with the up-to-date skills they’ll need when they’re working within the industry.
“Access to the new dairy parlour will provide our students with more opportunities for data collection in terms of milk production, as well as herd and individual cow performance.
“The new installation is in line with the current industry drive towards precision farming techniques to improve productivity – we are looking to reduce milking time by up to 30% – and, most importantly, continue to provide our 250 dairy cows with the best possible standards of care.
“This parlour is unusual in that has been specially designed by the manufacturer to meet our special request for it to feature both in-parlour feeding and rapid exit functions, which may make it the only one its kind in the UK.
“We are also installing an ADF milking system, which automatically applies a teat dip to the cow’s udder after milking to reduce exposure to harmful contagions in the environment, and moisturise the skin. It also flushes and sanitises the milking equipment automatically, in between each cow.”
The hi-tech facility expands the already extensive range of modern equipment within Hartpury’s on-site commercial farm that supplies produce to M&S, Muller, Glencore and Frontier.
Last year, Hartpury won the Promar International Milkminder Manager of the Year 2019 – Regional Award for the South of England, in recognition of the success of its dairy herd and facilities.
Agriculture degrees and diplomas at Hartpury provide routes into a diverse range of career opportunities within the UK and international agriculture industry, including farm management, agronomy, policymaking, research, science and consultancy.
Picture: An agriculture student operating the new dairy parlour at Hartpury