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Terry Middleton, Bawdoe Farm26.04.06
Cows milked by robot

Objective One EAGGF (European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund) has invested £42,956 towards the installation of a robot milking machine on a small, organic dairy farm in Lostwithiel, Cornwall. The project will save farmer Terence Middleton time and money and is also being used as a study case to see whether other farms can benefit.

The state of the art machinery has been fitted at Bawdoe farm. The idea is that the 55 pedigree Holstein Friesian cows can wander into a stall whenever they feel they need milking and are attached to the milking clusters by computer so Mr Middleton does not have to be present.

Mr Middleton, the tenant farmer of the 120-acre farm, explained the aims of the project: "Small dairy farms, so much part of the Cornish countryside, need to explore new avenues if they are to survive the current pressures and continue to be part of the countryside and local agricultural economy. I have been milking cows for more than 30 years and taking four to five hours a day to do it. I believe that by investing in a robot milking machine, with the support of Objective One, I will be able to increase milk output and gain more time and energy to run the farm more profitably and as a viable farm enterprise."

An important part of the project is to make facts and figures available to the wider farming community so that the costs and benefits can be properly assessed. The Dairy Group, which provides independent consultancy services, has been awarded the contract to monitor the project focusing on effects on farm finances, herd performance and welfare, and the social costs and benefits to the farmer and family.

David Rodda from the Cornwall Agricultural Council Development Team said: "The team were very pleased to assist Mr Middleton with his application. This project is an example of where a farmer is embracing innovative technology in order to improve efficiency and cut costs. The demonstration aspect of the project will ensure that lessons learned are shared throughout the dairy industry thus spreading the benefit of the investment from Objective One EAGGF."

Visits to view the installation by interested groups or individuals will be welcomed.

For further information please contact Clare Morgan of the Objective One Communications team on 01872 223439 or email cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in the Bawdoe Farm robotic milking through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

Anyone considering a new horticulture, food and land based industries project is advised to speak with Martin Butler, at Government Office South West on 01752 635015 before commencing development as there are now only limited funds available due to the successful uptake of funding by the agricultural sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Editor's notes:

 

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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