Research & Development

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Temporary hold on unsolicited research project proposals – March 2017 - click for more information

AHDB Dairy invests in Research and Development to ensure the dairy industry remains competitive, resource efficient and consumer-friendly. Our priority is to fund research which can be directly applied on-farm, aligning with the five strategic areas identified in the AHDB Dairy Business Plan.

Our priority is to fund research which can be directly applied on farm, help us achieve a more sustainable future by improving technical efficiency, reducing costs of production, and retaining positive consumer perceptions of dairy farming. Download our Research into Practice Booklet for more information.

New forms for applying for R&KE funding and a guidance document have been developed and can be found on the procurement page of the main AHDB website. Please click here to access them. AHDB Terms and Conditions can also be found on this page.

As well as tackling important technical issues for dairy businesses, the research funded by AHDB Dairy is also helping to build technical expertise within the industry. Through our research partnership contracts, research council programmes and the AHDB Studentship programme, AHDB Dairy funding has meant 38 students have been able to undertake PhD studies over the last 5 years. Find out more about  AHDB funded PhD studentships

2017 AHDB Postgraduate Studentship Call

 The 2017 AHDB Postgraduate Studentship Call is now open. Specific terms relating to the call and all relevant documentation for submitting proposals can be found on the AHDB website. The invitation is open to all UK universities, colleges and research institutes and we look forward to receiving your project proposals shortly.The deadline for submission is midday on Tuesday 03 October 2017.  All proposals received before the deadline will be reviewed. All organisations will be informed of the results of the selection process by Friday 19 January 2018.Queries and further information requests for AHDB Dairy should be sent to  Please note ‘AHDB Dairy’ in the subject header. 

Current Research Reports

Protein levels within dairy cow diets

To devise diets that allow dietary crude protein (CP) levels to be reduced below those currently used in commercial practice, without compromising milk yield, milk composition, or herd fertility.

Genomic evaluations

To enhance the AHDB Dairy Breeding genetic evaluation service by including genomic data through improved reliability of young bull and cow evaluations.

Lameness control in dairy cows

This project looks at evidence based protocols for the treatment of common causes of lameness in individual dairy cows and determine the effectiveness of such protocols at reducing lameness at herd level.

Out-wintering systems for replacement heifers

The overall objective is to develop and further refine out wintering systems for replacement heifers.

The effect of soil compaction and loosening on GHG emissions

To assess the impact of soil compaction on grassland productivity and nitrogen use efficiency, and its potential alleviation through soil lifting and aeration.

Completed Research Reports

Effect of dietary crude protein levels in new calved dairy cows

To devise diets that allow dietary crude protein (CP) levels to be reduced below those currently used in commercial practice, without compromising milk yield, milk composition, or herd fertility.

An economic analysis of heifer rearing and breeding selection in the GB

To enable farmers to optimize their heifer rearing system for greater profitability thereby improving the viability of the UK dairy herd.

Opportunites for new forage species

For farmers to meet the needs of food security, targets for green house gas emission reduction, grow crops successfully in a changing climate and remain competitive future forages will need to be delivered.

Alternative methods of Starling control

To investigate practical options for the management of starling infestations on dairy farms in the Somerset levels. The work will also be relevant to similar problems, in other areas of the country.

Latest News

  • Three number one bulls sit firm at the top in non-Holstein breeds

    Breeds other than Holstein set a scene of continued stability with the UK’s three most significant – Jersey, British Friesian and Ayrshire – each showing no change in the number one position in the August 2017 AHDB Dairy Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) rankings. 22 August 2017
  • Grants available to attend dairy conferences

    AHDB Dairy is again offering a limited number of grants towards a selection of conferences over the remainder of the financial year, to continue to encourage profitable growth and development of dairy farming in GB. 10 August 2017
  • Top genomic young sires exceed £800 PLI in new AHDB indexes

    Genetic improvement continues at a pace amongst the young genomic Holstein sires and the front-runner – retaining the position he held in the April ranking – breaks the £800 Profitable Lifetime Index (£PLI) barrier in the new rankings published today (8 August, 2017) by AHDB Dairy. With a PLI of £819, Mr Rubi-Agronaut transmits solid production, marked by a Predicted Transmitting Ability (PTA) for fat of +0.21%. This Rubicon son out of a Shotglass dam also ranks as the best feet and legs improver amongst the young genomic bulls at +2.51. 8 August 2017
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