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Wanted: dairy farmers’ views on cow-with-calf production system

Dairy cow with calf (Image by Elsemargriet from Pixabay)
"We hope that the data will inform future policy and help develop the right resources for farmers interested in operating the cow with calf system. There are very few farmers operating the system in the UK and as a result little research and advisory support"

A social scientist based at the James Hutton Institute is seeking the views of dairy farmers interested in running a ‘cow with calf’ production system in the UK.

The system involves keeping calves with their mothers for the first months of life, while milking the cows for commercial purposes. It can have animal welfare benefits as well as responding to consumer demand for different types of dairy production.

There are very few farms in the UK operating this system and a SRDP Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF) funded project, ‘Keeping Cow with Calf - Bringing Innovation to Dairying In Scotland’, aims to produce research on the economic, social, animal welfare and environmental aspects of this system.

Dr Orla Shortall, of the Institute’s Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences department, commented: “We would like to encourage farmers to take part in our research. The questions look a people’s motivation, what’s currently stopping them, and what would help them in the future.

“We hope that the data will inform future policy and help develop the right resources for farmers interested in operating the cow with calf system. There are very few farmers operating the system in the UK and as a result little research and advisory support.

"Our existing research suggests there’s a consumer market for milk produced in this way and it can provide rewards to the farmer, so part of the aim of the project is to support farmers interested in trialling the system.”

The survey takes 5 minutes to complete and can be found here: https://www.keepingcowwithcalf.com/survey. Respondents can sign up to the project mailing list to keep up to date of project results. 

The project is led by SRUC and has a core steering group with members from various organisations, all with links to the Scottish dairy sector.

The project explores data from Rainton Farm in Dumfries and Galloway, also known by their brand name The Ethical Dairy, one of two Scottish farms running a cow-with-calf dairy on a commercial scale.  

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, James Hutton Institute, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/wanted-dairy-farmers%E2%80%99-views-cow-calf-production-system on 02/12/20 09:14:29 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.