My Nuffield topic examines how by moving the dairy cow to the centre of the industry creates a sustainable path forward for the cow, the farmer and the industry.
I set out to examine the signals for success in dairy farming, examining the influence on stockmanship (people) on the health and performance of dairy cow. This human-cow interaction has always fascinated me and I have seen where it has such impact on cow health and welfare.
As I travelled I was surprised with the negative perceptions of dairy farming globally and the challenge of social license in every country I travelled to. I expanded my topic from looking at the biological needs of the cow and human interactions. Had we a bigger story to tell the dairy consumers of the future?
I travelled to France, Holland, Denmark, Israel and Canada on my personal travels. A big focus of my travels were around meeting international experts in veterinary, animal health and behaviour. I was also heavily influenced by the many farmers and agribusinesses I met along the way.
I discovered that the biggest impact on cow health and happiness were her human interactions, there is also a huge opportunity to improve our education around the biological needs of the modern dairy cow. I felt many current negative perceptions of agriculture are wrong and sometimes can even be affecting the mental wellbeing of farmers in the extreme. A cow centred approach affords us the opportunity to battle many of negative perceptions around dairy farming.
It was also interesting to see how technology continues to play a key role in helping us monitor good cow biology and also tell a powerful story to the dairy consumer of the future.
Read about Tommy here.
Tommy will be presenting the findings of his research at the 2019 Nuffield Ireland Conference in the Castleknock Hotel on November 15th. Book tickets here.