An industry collaboration led by national dairy co-operative First Milk to bring digital innovation to Cumbria and South West Scotland is gaining momentum.
Entering its second year, this part of the Digital Dairy Chain, a UK Research & Innovation-funded project, has brought together partners from across the supply chain to find solutions to the technology challenges they identified together.
Six projects spanning farm, transport and factory are doing just that. Two of the farm-based studies are extending the use of existing on-farm sensor technologies to investigate and improve cow welfare.
“This illustrates exactly what the demonstrator projects are all about – increasing efficiency with technology,” said Roger Briddock, regenerative programme manager at First Milk. “By using what’s already on the farm, we’re not reinventing the wheel, we’re simply taking the data further and wider to increase animal welfare, productivity and environmental gains.”
The transport-focused project has brought milk processors together to increase transparency and improve data transfer, assuring the quality and provenance of milk exchanges.
“This project has the potential to be a real gamechanger, eliminating the need for the wasteful disposal of milk not meeting required specifications,” commented Roger. “Once the research is complete, we aim to commercialise it, with more milk buyers able to join us, increasing the financial benefits for everyone.”
The factory project mirrors this potential for reducing waste, embracing the newest technology involving AI mechanisms.
“At First Milk, we are committed to driving innovation and have built robust relationships with all our partners involved in the trials – the team at Digital Dairy Chain, the companies and the universities,” concluded Roger.
Alongside the Digital Dairy Chain team, project partners include Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), the University of Strathclyde, University of the West of Scotland (UWS), Lactalis and National Milk Records (NMR).
“Encouraged by the progress we’ve seen in these projects so far, we are constantly looking to bring industry and researchers together to identify more areas where ground-breaking science can support efficient, regenerative milk production,” said Stuart Martin, programme director at Digital Dairy Chain.