An advanced dairy parlour has been installed at Hartpury’s on-campus commercial farm, providing students with experience of the latest agri-technology.
Students studying agriculture will have access to the new facility - a 30/30 GEA BeTeBe Rapid Exit Parlour - designed to the college's own specification.
The dairy parlour will reduce milking times and improve hygiene and welfare for Hartpury’s 250-strong herd of dairy cows.
Access to it will also provide students with more opportunities for data collection in terms of milk production, as well as herd and individual cow performance.
The new installation is in line with the current industry drive towards precision farming techniques to improve productivity.
Andrew Eastabrook, farm manager at Hartpury said: “We are looking to reduce milking time by up to 30%, and, most importantly, continue to provide our 250 dairy cows with the best possible standards of care.
“This parlour is unusual in that has been specially designed by the manufacturer to meet our special request for it to feature both in-parlour feeding and rapid exit functions, which may make it the only one its kind in the UK."
The college is also installing an ADF milking system, which automatically applies a teat dip to the cow’s udder after milking to reduce exposure to harmful contagions in the environment, and moisturise the skin.
"It also flushes and sanitises the milking equipment automatically, in between each cow,” Mr Eastabrook added.
The new facility expands Hartpury’s on-site commercial farm, which supplies produce to Marks and Spencer, Muller, Glencore and Frontier.
Last year, the college won the Promar International Milkminder Manager of the Year 2019 – Regional Award for the South of England, in recognition its dairy herd and facilities.