Free Cattle Housing Advice for Dairy Farmers

Published 24 November 16

AHDB Dairy And Scottish Dairy HubScottish dairy farmers considering investing in new cattle housing are being advised to attend two free cow accommodation events in Lanarkshire and Dumfries and Galloway. The events will feature two industry experts who will share their expertise on designing living environments which promote productivity and health. 

Both events, organised by the Scottish Dairy Hub and AHDB Dairy, will be held on Tuesday 6 December. There will be a lunchtime meeting at the Radstone Hotel, Larkhall from 11am until 2.30pm and later on the same day there will be a second session at Creebridge Hotel, Newton Stewart, kicking off at 7.30pm.

Stuart Martin, of the Scottish Dairy Hub, explains why they decided to focus on housing. He says: “We have had a noticeable increase in queries about cattle housing over the last few months. Farmers are asking about new sheds, about milking parlours, and about upgrading old units. We decided the best way to guide them was to get in two industry experts on the subject, Ian Ohnstad and Jamie Robertson, so they can get practical advice on the options available.”

AHDB Dairy Extension Officer, Sharon Lauder says: “Agricultural buildings are often the most valuable asset on farm, and as they can either help or hinder profitable milk production and herd health, it is an area well worth paying attention to as part of overall business planning.”

Attendees will hear from Dairy Group Director Ian Ohnstad, an expert in milking technology who will explain how farmers can better utilise their current facilities as well as advising on dairy parlour design.

Animal health specialist and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Aberdeen, Jamie Robertson, will describe the four key environmental factors which farmers should consider when housing their cattle; moisture, air speed, temperature and fresh air.

He says: “All of these factors influence herd health and productivity with air speed or wind being the most debilitating. I will be advising farmers to think about their housing as a microclimate, which their animals may be spending significant amounts of time in, and that climate needs to well managed to reduce the prevalence of chronic conditions such as mastitis and lameness. Fresh air is important, but at the same time we don’t want these animals, especially the young stock, to get cold, so it is important to find the balance.”

Passionate about the influence of the environment on animal health, Jamie has carried out research on respiratory disease and air quality in pigs, poultry, cattle and stock people.

Both events are free but to assist with catering farmers are advised to book a place by contacting Sharon Lauder on 07876 706 391 or