A £6.5 million Welsh dairy improvement programme secured by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) will be rolled out across the country over the next five years.

The programme will prioritise herd health planning and monitoring as well as expanding AHDB’s strategic farm initiative in Wales.

The funding, which will made through the Welsh Government Rural Communities Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, was announced today on the opening day of the Royal Welsh Show.

AHDB dairy chairman Gwyn Jones said: “This is fantastic news for dairy farmers and a game changer which will help to release the full potential of their dairy herds.”

Dairy profitability and efficiency

Herd health plans, which set out disease prevention, detection and management procedures will be developed as part of the programme applying a new whole farm holistic approach to take into consideration other influencing factors such as nutrition, genetics and the suitability of buildings.

Dairy farmers in Wales will be able to access support to raise their awareness of disease control and preventative measures from autumn 2018.

Jones added: “Herd health and disease control underpin good performance on dairy farms and will help milk producers improve efficiencies and lift herd profitability.”

AHDB will also expand its strategic dairy farm concept in Wales to help farmers learn from each other through regular on-farm meetings and sharing key performance data.

“We know farmers learn best from other farmers and we will be working collaboratively with Farming Connect to make sure we complement their existing demonstration network and add value to delivery wherever possible,” he added.