The Centre for Dairy Research (CEDAR), University of Reading, is located at Hall Farm, Arborfield, and was established in 1992. A unique state of the art research facility for applied and strategic research; CEDAR specialises in researching the environmental impacts of milk and meat production. Key research themes include sustainable forages for livestock systems, dairy cow digestion and nutrition, milk composition and consumer health.
The dairy enterprise
Hall Farm is home to a commercial herd of 560 Holstein dairy cows. Whilst the cows are predominantly housed inside on sand beds, grazing is available between April and November each year. The farm has continually upgraded facilities with a new rotary milking parlour, expanded silage and slurry storage facilities in 2007 and most recently, a new barn to improve housing for dry cows in 2016. Growing feed for the dairy herd requires just over 50% of the 535 hectare site at Hall Farm, with the remaining land being a mixture of arable land, floodplain, woodland, and scrub. In recent years the farm has also devoted 22 hectares to natural wildflower meadows on the banks of the River Loddon at Langley Mead, which are open to the public.
Specialist research units
The extensive research capabilities of CEDAR include computerised feeding stations where up to 200 cows can be individually fed different diets, and a refurbished metabolism unit enabling more detailed studies of digestion, energy metabolism, and methane emission.
In addition, the meat and growth research unit expands the site’s capabilities beyond dairy research, allowing for research involving beef, sheep, poultry, and even llamas! Researchers are currently in the final stages of conducting a long-term study into the optimal level of protein that should be included in dairy diets to ensure nitrogen is efficiently used by the cow rather than lost in excreta www.reading.ac.uk/protein-effi...
Meanwhile, a new 5 year project is underway that is focussing on incorporating legumes and herbs into grass paddocks to increase nitrogen efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve soil health, enable drought and flood tolerance, and enrich biodiversity www.reading.ac.uk/DiverseForag...
Find out more about the Centre for Dairy Research here: