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Scottish Dairy Technology Centre

Barony Farm

Dairy Technology Centre at BaronyOpened by HRH The Princess Royal in September 2006, our Dairy Technology Centre is a first rate training facility which incorporates the latest animal welfare designs and management systems, as well as maximising the use of available technology.

Barony Campus in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway provides an excellent environment for learning about agriculture. The farm estate of 240 hectares of farmland and 30 hectares of woodland is run as a commercial operation with emphasis on teaching and learning through hands on farm work, group work and one to one instruction, performance monitoring and analysis.

We have 250 Holstein dairy cows with 160 cows milked three times a day through a Fullwood 24:24 herringbone parlour, 50-55 milked through a Fullwood Merlin voluntary milking robot and the remainder are Dry. Cows are producing on average 9500L @ 4.1% bf and 3.3% protein.

Cows calve all year round with the Holstein heifer calves being kept as replacements for the dairy herd and all Holstein bulls and beef cross calves move to another SRUC farm for finishing at 3-4 months old.

Low yielders go to grass during the summer months and allowed access to a buffer feed at night while the high yielders are fully housed allowing us to meet these high yielding cows nutritional requirements through feeding high quality home grown silage, wholecrop and bought in protein and starch sources. The Robot herd are allowed access to a loafing paddock for a few hours per day during the summer months.Dairy calf in pen

Heifers are AI’d at 13 months of age at a weight of 350kg to allow us an average calving age of 24 months. They are allowed two cycles of sexed semen then they get conventional semen. During the grazing period we run a Limousin beef bull to sweep up at grass. The best of the dairy cows are AI’d with sexed semen with another proportion getting conventional and the rest of the herd are AI’d with Limousin semen giving us a more valuable beef calve that will be moved onto our other farm.

Calves are fed through an automatic Holm and Laue feeding station which gives accurate information on how much calves drink and they have access to Adlib good quality Barley straw and Calve starter pellets.

The student’s milk on a rota basis during term time and cows are fed with a Siloking feeder with DigiStar Tracker feeding system which provides accurate guidance and monitoring of cow rations and feeding.

We bring in 100 store cattle from other SRUC farms to Barony to fatten and then sold direct to an abattoir. Students do the costings of the feed inputs and track the performance from the kill sheets.

A 700 head sheep flock of Scotch mules are crossed with Texel tups to provide a learning base for flock husbandry and management. Students have hands on experience at lambing time and help with the daily tasks involved. All lambs are weighed and handled regularly through our Ritchie Combi Clamp and the Prattley 3 way EID auto weigher/shedder. Students can monitor performance and analyse kill sheets as all lambs are sold direct to an abattoir.

As well as grassland management and grass silage making, students get first-hand experience of growing Winter Barley and Spring Wheat harvested for Wholecrop. We are now able to utilise GPS technology and precision farming as we have soil tested and mapped the farm so we can address any deficiencies in the P, K and pH status of the fields to improve the soil quality allowing the farm to be more fertile and be able to grow forage to its full potential.

100ha 1st cut silage, 80ha 2nd cut silage and 60ha for 3rd cut. All the 50ha of cereals are harvested for Wholecrop to feed the animals at Barony.

This year we are re-introducing the Red Deer Herd at Barony with the purchase of 50 in-calve breeding hinds. The best of the female calves will be retained as breeding stock and the remainder along with the male calves will be sold finished between 15-18 months old. This will allow us to demonstrate handling and the management of farmed deer in the rapidly growing sector of agriculture.

A modern livestock farm at the forefront of innovation makes Barony the natural place to learn for a future in agriculture.

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