Dairy farmer survey - "Cows eat grass don't they?" project

Dairy farmer survey - "Cows eat grass don't they?" project

Friday, August 3, 2018

Opportunity for dairy farmers to take part in survey

Cows eat grass, don’t they?

There has been public controversy in recent years about indoor dairy farming. Research has found that the public are concerned about environmental and welfare implications of a move away from pasture based systems towards more year round housing. However no research has been carried out about farmers’ attitudes towards pasture-based and indoor systems.

The ‘Cows eat grass, don’t they?’ research project carried out by Orla Shortall at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen focuses on farmer, stakeholder and public views about the future of the dairy sectors in the UK and Ireland. The project involves a survey with dairy farmers to listen to their views on the future of their industry.

The survey is for any commercial dairy farmers in the UK and Ireland. It takes around 10-15 minutes to complete. Questions cover production systems and opinions. “It’s an important time for dairy farming in the UK.” said Orla “The sector has moved away from one type of system based on seasonal grazing and housing. There’s a feeling that the industry and the public are out of step about the realities of dairy farming and this survey aims to collect rigorous data on farmers’ views on the future of their industry to help provide more clarity on this subject.”

As a gesture of goodwill £2 (and equivalent in euros) will be donated for every survey completed to charities helping struggling farmers: the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RABI) in England and Wales; the Royal Scottish Agricultural Benevolent Institution (RSABI); Rural Support in Northern Ireland; and the Mind our Farm Families phoneline in Ireland run by Pieta House and the IFA. The project aims to raise £1500 for these charities in total.

The survey can be found at: http://surveys.hutton.ac.uk/docowseatgrass. More information about the project can be found at: www.docowseatgrass.org.

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