The Dairy Research and Innovation Centre is based at Crichton Royal Farm, Dumfries. It aims to develop, implement and provide information from sustainable breeding and management systems for dairy cows. Critical objectives include finding ways to improve the health and welfare of UK dairy herds and measuring different systems’ effects on the environment.
Dairy systems research is performed with the Langhill pedigree herd, selected since 1970 as a high genetic merit line and a control line. These cattle are on two distinctly different management systems; a home-grown forage system and a by-products system relying on purchased feed. In the Homegrown system, all the ingredients in the cows’ diet are grown on the Crichton Farm. The By-product system can be regarded as a landless system, influenced by global climate conditions affecting the crops from which the by-products are sourced.
Associated research work includes dairy cow and young-stock nutrition, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and examination of soil compaction and nutrient profile.
The dairy systems research programme has a strong emphasis on knowledge transfer. This is achieved by utilising the information gathered from the main systems comparison study run at the centre. The SRUC Dairy Services Unit is also based at Crichton, providing consultancy to dairy farmers.
The Dairy Research Centre also carries out commercial trials for companies.