University of Nottingham Centre for Dairy Science Innovation
The first of its type in the UK, a new £6m centre positioning the University of Nottingham at the forefront of research into the health, nutrition and welfare of dairy cows has achieved recognition by being shortlisted in the RICS Awards 2019 Design Through Innovation category.
Located at the University’s Sutton Bonnington campus, the new Centre for Dairy Science Innovation is a state-of-the-art extension to the University’s long-standing dairy facility and offers the latest research technologies for studying a range of dairy-related topics including cow behaviour, mastitis control, antimicrobial resistance, feed efficiency, environmental emissions and new so-called wearable technologies for the herd.
The new facility was designed by Haston Reynolds Ltd Chartered Surveyors, who also acted as project managers and planning consultants on the scheme. The building was constructed by Minshall Construction.
Ian Reynolds, Director of Haston Reynolds said: “Being a Chartered Surveyor myself, I was very pleased that the project was shortlisted. It was particularly rewarding to achieve recognition from my own peers.”
“These are the first buildings of their type in the UK. One of the most innovative features of the design is the incorporation of the bespoke sledges below the slats of the Centre’s sand-bedded cow cubicles which make it easy to dispose of waste.”
The new facilities were constructed adjacent to the University’s existing dairy unit which functions as both as both a teaching and research facility as well as a commercial farm.
The two largest new buildings are of steel frame construction with fibre cement roofing and gables in timber boarding, with the remaining walls fitted with automated ventilation curtains.
Internal facilities include sand bedded cubicles for the cows, robotic milking machines that allow the cows to decide when they want to be milked, and robot ‘scrapers’ which help to maintain the general hygiene of the facility by automatically disposing of waste.
External works on the gently sloping site included soil mounding and landscaping to help screen the Centre. A large water attenuation pond was also installed to control clean surface discharge from the whole site and reduce the risk of flood elsewhere.
Ian Reynolds concluded: “The client was delighted and the centre has boosted milk yield by 25 per cent. Minshall Construction are specialists in agricultural buildings and they did a very good job.”
Jointly funded by the University and the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Livestock (CIEL), by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK, as part of the UK’s Agri-Tech Strategy, the facility brings together researchers from the University’s Schools of Biosciences and Veterinary Medicine and Science alongside industry.
The new building focuses on emerging technologies to prevent disease and improve cow welfare. The unique flexible housing facility for two groups of around 30 animals allows researchers to evaluate the impact of the environment on the health, welfare and physiology of housed dairy cows. The new facility also makes it possible to test the effects of building layout, access to indoor and outdoor loafing space, feed space and bedding on cow physiology, production, health, welfare and economics.
Martin Green, Professor of Cattle Health and Epidemiology in the University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, said: “The University of Nottingham already has an international reputation for the excellence of its research into cattle health and nutrition and this centre will help us to cement our position as leaders in the field.”