NMR and First Milk join forces as part of £21m digital dairy project

Leading dairy information service provider, NMR, and First Milk, have announced they will work closely together in the provision and use of relevant data to improve dairy chain efficiency, as part of the recently-announced funding for the Digital Dairy Chain project.

The project will operate specifically in South West Scotland and Cumbria and is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) under its ‘Strength in Places’ fund. Set to run for five years, until 2026, the Digital Dairy Chain project focuses on developing a highly efficient and sustainable supply chain from farm to plate. It will encourage innovation-led growth using the latest technology to support advanced manufacturing processes and create fully integrated and traceable supply chains.

NMR and First Milk will look to promote the project by sharing data as efficiently as possible. “We will be looking at the most efficient means of enabling First Milk to get data rapidly on a range of metrics to optimise milk transport, processing and traceability,” says NMR’s Ben Bartlett. “And within our testing services there is also scope to investigate new tests, which may offer improved nutritional and processing information for milk collected off farms so maximum value can be made by directing it to the best end use.

“We will take full advantage of digital data systems to strengthen the sustainability of dairying for all the First Milk members involved.”

Mark Brooking from First Milk also welcomes the funding award. “This project will support the full digitalisation of the dairy supply chain in South West Scotland and Cumbria from grass to glass,” he says. “This has the potential to deliver many benefits – from optimised and low-carbon logistics, which can reduce cost and environmental impact, to improved efficiency on-farm and in milk processing sites.

“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 whole sustainability agenda, which aims to demonstrate how dairy farmers can be part of the climate-change solution.”

Key dairy organisations also participating in the Digital Dairy Chain project are Lactalis McLelland and Arla, alongside SRUC, the University of Strathclyde and the University of West Scotland. The project will start in September 2021.

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