Consultants and researchers behind an innovative project which improved milk quality and boosted cheese yield have been shortlisted for the prestigious Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards.
The Campbeltown Milk Quality Improvement Project is one of the finalists in the awards which recognise game-changing collaborations between business and academics.
The project - run by SAC Consulting, part of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) – has optimised milk quality among local farmers allowing the creamery to produce more cheese from less milk.
The scheme – which also involves SRUC’s Dairy Research and Innovation Centre - is part of a wider approach designed to maintain the local diary farming industry which is crucial to the area’s economy.
SAC Consulting is one of three projects shortlisted in the MultiParty Collaboration category – which recognises innovation and impact through working together.
SAC Consulting worked together with First Milk, Campbeltown Dairy Farmers and SRUC’s Dairy Research and Innovation Centre in Dumfries to investigate why there was a lower cheese yield from Campbeltown creamery compared to other creameries across the First Milk business.
The consortium developed an understanding of the relationship between milk quality and cheese yield and identified changes to individual farm practices to optimise milk quality.
This led to a second project on the feeding of whey to dairy cows. This initiative reduced farmer feed costs, improved milk quality and in turn cheese yield and reduced the creamery whey haulage costs.
John Forster, Agricultural Consultant at SAC’s Campbeltown office who led the collaboration, said: “We are really delighted to be shortlisted for this award. It highlights how co-operation - alongside mentoring and attention to detail - has a positive outcome for all involved.
“The whey supplied within the experiment to a core group of dairy farms contributed to improved intakes, milk quality, and also proved that the whey influenced the casein element of the protein, a key ingredient for cheese making. In addition, the Creamery’s carbon footprint was greatly improved as all deliveries were kept local.
“The project showed good milk quality produces quality cheese.”
The Campbeltown milk project will go head-to-head with two other projects for the coveted award – the Flow Assurance and Scale Team software used by the oil and gas industry; and Mosaicing for Automated Pipe Scanning used for inspection in the nuclear industry.
Mike Wijnberg, Managing Director SAC Consulting, said: “This project is an excellent example of the sort of project where SAC Consulting is proud able to make a difference – one where our technical knowledge and supply chain facilitation expertise enables a better result for all.”
The Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards are organised by Interface - which matches businesses to world leading Scottish universities and research institutes.
Siobhan Jordan, Interface Director, said: “The finalists all show outstanding collaborations, which have the potential to revolutionise an industry, change society or people’s lives and make a global impact. The Awards show how knowledge exchange can support companies and academics in different ways, helping Scotland to be a world-leading entrepreneurial and enterprising nation.”
The winners will be announced at the 2017 Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards at RBS Gogaburn Conference Centre in Edinburgh on Tuesday 21 February.
Photo caption: Mooving up the milk yield! John Forster of SAC Consulting’s Campbeltown office who led the Campbeltown Milk Quality Improvement Project.