We have some of the best specialist facilities in the country, thanks to a continuing £80 million investment across campus. One of the latest additions to our state-of-the-art facilities is our automated milking system, which was installed on our on-site farm in early 2021, in partnership with Lely.

The automated robotic milking system, called the Lely Astronaut A5, is a high specification, leading-edge piece of equipment; it has two robotic milking stations incorporating sophisticated data processing which deliver highly accurate readings in areas such as feed intake, milk yield and individual cow health.

The robotic dairy, which also has automated feeding and cleaning systems, operates alongside our traditional milking parlour, which provides us with the unique opportunity to directly compare both methods.

Early results show that those on the robotic system choose to make 3.7 visits each day to be milked compared with twice daily milking on the traditional system. The average daily milk yield per cow has increased to 39 litres and resting time has lengthened by three hours daily, benefitting fertility.

The data provided by the system is available on touch screen at our new Robotic Milking Centre and on large screens in the Data Hub, which has also been supported by Lely, and is based in our refurbished FIC 5 classroom.

We are extremely proud to have worked closely with Lely, a market leader in this field, on this installation and delighted to say that they will be using the facility to train and demonstrate their technology.

The facility is also available to be used by Lely clients, as well as members of our farming community and specialist engineers. Additionally, it will enable us to provide training and research opportunities to our college students and undergraduates too, in the emerging areas of digitalisation, robotics, sustainability and data-driven dairy management.

This installation will also play a part in us ensuring next generation farmers and industry clients can harness the necessary data and digital technologies needed to produce sustainable food within the confines of climate change – necessary skills within this fast-evolving industry.

Find out more about this fantastic equipment in the videos below: