A UK dairy producer and dairy information service provider have launched a £21m collaboration to fully digitalise their supply chains in an effort to achieve full lifecycle traceability
First Milk dairy producer and NMR, which performs milk sample testing and cattle identification tech, received funding from UKRI for the project with the goal to increase efficiency and transparency in the milk sector.
The firms will focus on digitalising supply chains in south-west Scotland and Cumbria, making use of low-carbon logistics to improve efficiency on-farm and in-milk processing sites.
The move will require investment in technologies that support advanced manufacturing processes and create integrated and traceable supply chains.
Mark Brooking, First Milk membership director, said: “As well as driving efficiency throughout the dairy supply chain through the adoption of new technology, this project offers the potential to deliver improved economic, social and environmental gains.
"This will help to secure the future of dairy in the area. It also fits with our sustainability agenda, which aims to demonstrate how dairy farmers can be part of the climate-change solution.”
The project is part of the UKRI-funded Digital Dairy Chain scheme to develop efficient and sustainable supply chains. Set to begin in September 2021 and run for five years, it aims to generate an additional £60m a year for the region, which has a current annual output of nearly two billion litres.
It will allow farmers to monitor their operations including individual cows and feeds, while enabling data from smart factories to inform how to better produce dairy products.
A First Milk spokesperson said: “The project has many stakeholders and will look at how technologies can be developed and implemented for sensing and data-handling to improve information flow, will deliver advanced manufacturing processes to enable a fully integrated supply chain and will support innovation and growth in the regional dairy industry.
“This will help to safeguard the future of dairy in this region, securing new jobs and helping the industry transition to net-zero by focusing on how technology and innovation can deliver advanced, sustainable, and high-value dairy production and processing.”
The Digital Dairy Chain will also see collaboration between Lactalis McLelland and Arla, alongside Scotland's Rural College, the University of Strathclyde and the University of West Scotland.
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