In the first major collaboration between a retailer and a University veterinary school, Wood Park farm – at the University’s Leahurst veterinary campus – will become a national resource centre for farmers as part of the Tesco Sustainable Dairy Group, offering expertise in cattle lameness, fertility and calf health.
The Centre aims to help farmers in enhancing the commercial benefits of their work, as well as offer advice on animal health and welfare. The collaboration will also help further veterinary teaching at the University by providing the latest information on dairy technologies and farm management.
Dr Rob Smith, Head of the University’s Livestock Health and Welfare Division, said: “It is really important that retailers and producers work together to deliver good animal welfare that meets consumer expectations. Many North West farms provide milk to Tesco and so Wood Park is ideally placed to offer advice to local farmers working with retailers.”
Earlier this year Wood Park Dairy Farm benefited from a £1 million investment to provide user-friendly facilities for student study purposes. This included a viewing gallery where students are now able to observe and monitor cow behaviour as part of teaching on reproduction. Wood Park houses 200 cows that are each expected to produce in the region of 9,500 litres of milk each per year.
John Cameron, Wood Park Farm Manager, said: “This collaboration will provide better communication and understanding between producers and retailers. Wood Park will test new ideas and systems of operation so that we are in a better position to advise other farmers on developments in the industry.”
Emma Rutter, Tesco Dairy Agricultural Manager, added: “Our link with the University will give us direct access to some of the best specialists in the country in areas such as herd health and nutrition. This will give us an invaluable insight into issues that matter to our producers and customers.”
The Tesco Dairy Centre will be formally launched at the Dairy Event and Livestock Show at Stoneleigh Park on Wednesday, 17 September.
Samantha Martin | alfa
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