Northern Ireland researchers are seeking to recruit 25 dairy farmers from using robotic milking systems for an upcoming research project.

The overall objective of the project, which is run by AgriSearch (in partnership with AFBI and CAFRE), is to improve the efficiency of NI dairy farms.

Researchers will monitor key performance indicators and hope to glean new information to optimise management of robotic milking systems.

The project will include a number of research trials to be undertaken at AFBI Hillsborough to optimise the efficiency of housed robotic milking systems and investigate how grazing and robotic could integrate on NI farms.

What’s involved?

The project also seeks to capture information on the management and performance of robotic milking systems on commercial farms.

To achieve this, cow and robot performance data will be collected from farms on a monthly basis. From this dataset, the key metrics influencing system efficiency and performance will be identified for each farm. Data will be collected for a two-year period.

After the first year, farms may be asked to alter management practices to test their effect on overall system performance.

Farmers will be asked to participate in discussion group meetings twice a year (five in total) where results of the on-farm and parallel studies at AFBI Hillsborough will be discussed. Future research requirements for robotic milking will also be discussed.

Farmers interested in participating in the project can download an information pack and application form from the AgriSearch website If you have any specific queries then contact Jason Rankin (AgriSearch) on 028 9268 1613 or Debbie McConnell (AFBI) on 028 9268 1530.