AgriSearch (in partnership with AFBI and CAFRE) are currently seeking to recruit 25 dairy farmers from across Northern Ireland, who are currently operating robotic milking systems to participate in a robotic milking research project.

The overall objective of this research project being funded by DAERA and AgriSearch is to improve the efficiency of N.I. dairy farms by providing key performance indicators and new information to optimise management of robotic milking systems.  The project will include a number of research trials to be undertaken at AFBI Hillsborough to optimise the efficiency of housed robotic milking systems and investigate how grazing and robotic could integrate on N.I. farms.

Debbie McConnell (AFBI), Alistair Carson (Chief Scientific Advisor, DAERA), Lyndsay Chapman (CEO, Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock) and Jason Rankin (General Manager, AgriSearch) at the launch of the CIEL funded robotic milking research facility and precision grazing platform at AFBI Hillsborough.

The project also seeks to capture information on the management and performance of robotic milking systems on commercial farms. To achieve this, cow and robot performance data will be collected from farms on a monthly basis. From this dataset, the key metrics influencing system efficiency and performance will be identified for each farm. Data will be collected for a two-year period. After the first year, farms may be asked to alter management practices to test their effect on overall system performance.

Farmers will be asked to participate in discussion group meetings twice a year (5 in total) where results of the on-farm and parallel studies at AFBI, Hillsborough will be discussed. Future research requirements for robotic milking will also be discussed.

Farmers interested in participating in the project can download an information pack and application form from the AgriSearch website. (Note the application form is a MS Word document and needs to be downloaded on a computer).

If you have any specific queries then contact Jason Rankin (AgriSearch) on 028 9268 1613 or Debbie McConnell (AFBI) on 028 9268 1530.