Scotland’s organic dairy farmers are launching a new project to boost the profitability and resilience of producers of organic milk after receiving a grant from the Scottish Government’s Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund (KTIF).
Tue, 18 Apr 2017
Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund
The project titled ‘Grass to Milk – Organically’ aims to bring innovative and new thinking to organic dairy farmers by using digital technology to accurately and fairly compare their business performance.
One of the key innovations is the use of accurate grass measuring equipment to support improved grass management. Data on grass growth and quality will be collated from individual fields, and assessed against the resulting milk output. Grass measurement and monitoring will help the participating farmers to increase their efficiency by reducing the need for cereals and purchased feed, while aiding their decision-making process by utilising accurate data.
The project will also support new suppliers, both young farmers and farmers transitioning to organic, by making it easier to access mentoring and advice from experienced farmers, for example by hosting online group tutorials and facilitating expert guidance.
The project was launched last week in Dumfriesshire at a meeting to demonstrate grassland measuring and monitoring technology. Gavin Lochhead who Chairs the Scottish Organic Milk Producers Association said:
“The market for organic milk is growing dramatically and with that increase in demand it’s important that our members are able to meet supply requirements. That means we need to improve business efficiency, and that’s at the heart of this new project.
“The benefits of managing grass are well understood and proven, and feedback from our members suggests there is significant potential to improve grass utilization in organic systems. At the moment there is only limited use of technology to measure and manage grass within the organic milk sector, and there’s no link being made between milk sales figures and grass output. That’s what this new project will introduce, alongside a robust programme of e-learning and knowledge sharing.”
The Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund supports skills development and innovative actions in the agricultural sector in Scotland. Innovation projects are those which introduce new practices, processes and technologies that aim to deliver benefits to the wider agricultural community.