Cows & feeding
The SRUC Dairy Research and Innovation Centre has two units based on a 252 hectares farm area, Crichton Main and Acrehead.
Crichton Main houses the Langhill Breeding study with 40 years of selection for milk solids production. Acrehead houses facilities for nutrition and precision livestock farming research.
We also have capacity for research with dairy replacement stock. There are 250 milking Holstein cows at Crichton Main and a further 220 at Acrehead, plus replacements.
The rest of the land is sown as grass for grazing and silage, but a number of other crops are grown to meet the needs of different experiments, for example beans, red clover, forage wheat and forage maize.
Studies can be with grazing and/or housed cattle - either dry and/or lactating.
SRUC Dairy Research and Innovation Centre is supported by a team of specialist technical staff who are responsible for implementation of all experimental protocols and work alongside a dedicated team of 7 farm staff. SRUC Research is accredited to ISO 9001.
- Automated milk recording through either herringbone parlours or robot milking systems
- Individual recording of feed and water intakes using automated roughage feeders
- Weighing facilities
- Hand-held methane detector for enteric greenhouse gas studies
- A range of precision livestock tools (e.g. thermal imaging and other temperature sensing; accelerometer-based activity monitors; rumen pH boluses)
- Using computerised parlour and feeding system, we are able to measure yields, feed and water intakes
- The use of laser methane detector (originally used in mining) can assess greenhouse gas emissions from cows on different diets
- ‘Hoko’ feed and water bins measure what our cows eat and drink, but changes in individuals’ intakes can be used to flag up warning of possible disease
Langhill breeding study
The Langhill breeding experiment was established in the early 1970s and still continues to operate at the SRUC Dairy Research Centre.
The genetic lines have been selected on the basis of fat plus protein yield (maximum versus national average) for over 40 years and the study also includes contrasting management strategies (currently feeding systems based on either 1.5 or 4.5 tonne of concentrate per cow per annum).
The Langhill database provides over 40 years’ worth of records that scientists can access alongside the ongoing research in this facility and this invariably adds value to research conducted at the Centre.
There is an extensive database incorporating all animal performance, fertility and health records, as well as field records. Linkage with field, soil, weather and herbage records is an important strength for many projects.