The Home Farm 140 cow Dairy Unit comprises of a 16:16 with direct to line Alfa Laval Milking parlour with Alpro milk meters. Other features include Automatic Cluster Removal, heat recovery unit, direct expansion tank and plate cooler.
The Unit also has an efficient washdown facility for parlour yards which can be used to provide either high pressure/low volume or high volume/low pressure water for cleaning purposes.
The viewing gallery over the dairy and the wide pit in the parlour provide close observation facilities for student instruction and the education of visitors.
Housing includes loose housed, straw bedded areas for up to 150 cows.
The herd is predominantly Autumn/Winter calving and is split into groups for feeding purposes. The cows are fed on a forage based ration of grass and maize silage and Brewers Grains. The forage is supplemented with dairy cake, 'straights replacer' (mixture of alternative feeds), Sugar Beet, Soya Bean Meal and Maize Gluten. A complete diet feeder is used for winter feeding, for ease of management and to reduce wastage.
The College owns 693,300 litres of milk quota and leases in up to 600,000 litres per year to enable a milk yield of 8905 litres to be achieved, with a margin over concentrates of £1,151 per cow.
A large capacity slurry lagoon allows for easy disposal of faecal waste, either direct into the lagoon or into a spreader from the "push-off" ramp. A slurry separator allows disposal of slurry liquids and parlour and yard washings direct to the field all year round.
The stocking rate for the herd is 1.85 ha per cow, maintained by a reduced nitrogen application of around 250 kg per ha. Summer grazing management involves a paddocked system with the occasional use of electric fences to divide fields, depending upon the season. Spring and summer grazing and conservation come from medium term perennial rye-grass mixtures. Maize is grown for silage in addition to grass silage.
Nominated Al sires used on the herd during 1999 were Cousteau, Markem and Progress. Bulls used in 2000 were Rudolph, Ignitor, Inquirer, Cousteau and Luxury, for 2001 Ignitor, Cousteau and Gilbert. The bulls to be used in 2002 and 2003 are Miley Gilbert, Pennview Income and STBVQ Rubens with the addition of Comestar Outside. All bulls are high type and will improve dairy type in particular teat length and udder attachment.
College students take an active part in the running of the dairy under the control of the herdsman. All students on Agricultural Courses gain various levels of experience and instruction, including milking, feeding and day-to-day management of the unit.
Bull calves are reared to finish at 12-14 months of age. Heifer calves are retained and reared on a once a day warm milk system. Target growth rates between 0.7 and 1 kg enable the heifers to be served at 15 months of age at 370 kg LWT and a height of 132 cm.