As a 5th year Vet Student from the University of Liverpool, England, I made a one week visit to Dairy Campus with the aim of expanding my experience and knowledge of the dairy industry. I was curious to see how this area of farming might vary across Europe and a trip to Dairy Campus seemed the perfect way to do this.
Unlike most dairy farms with 500+ cattle, instead of there being many cows under one roof, at Dairy Campus there are many groups of cows under many different rooves (or out at grass). Multiple sheds provide a variety of living environments for the cows, with differences in flooring materials and cubicle arrangements. There is also a variety of equipment and robots that can be used to closely manipulate and monitor feed intake on an individual cow basis plus a 40 cow rotary parlour.
Over the week I became involved in all farm activities including the afternoon milking and routine cow care. I was able to chat to the farmers and researchers to find out more about their work. Watching and assisting the vet on a routine visit on the Thursday was a definite highlight of the week. The entire team were very welcoming and there was never a dull moment!
The buildings, both farm and office/conference areas, are very smart and incomparable to any other farm I’ve visited. In particular, the visitor’s centre is stunning with the huge windows providing an amazing view across the farm and surrounding countryside. I loved to sit in here when reading/ writing up work.
Standing before the digester at Dairy Campus. It is decorated with beautiful graffiti.
The positive attitude of the whole team on a daily basis was inspiring. There was an infectious team spirit and an emphasis on making time for the discussion of important topics. My week with Dairy Campus was a valuable experience to me and has only furthered my interest in this industry. It looks as though the site will only get bigger and better and I’d love to visit again in the future.