SRUC - The Dairy Cattle Research and Innovation Centre

Crichton Royal Farm is one of SRUC’s six research farms linked primarily to the SRUC’s Future Farming Systems applied research programme and is the centre for dairy research.

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Primary Contact: Paul Hargreaves (SRUC Crichton, Grassland Researcher)

[email protected] | 01387 403601

The Crichton Royal Farm has an area of 252 hectares and rise from near sea level to about 75m. SRUC also rents some neighbouring land and is home to the Langhill study herd, established in 1973 and considered the longest running genetic selection trial worldwide.

It is now part of a wider farm system that incorporates the SRUC Barony campus the site of the Digital Dairy Chain and Dairy Nexus projects.


To find ways to improve the production, health and welfare of UK dairy herds and measure different systems’ effects on the environment.


Studies undertaken at The Dairy Research Centre can be with grazing and/or housed cattle-either dry and/or lactating. There is also the capacity for research with dairy replacement stock, especially calves and youngstock.

Information from this work is regularly imparted to groups of farmers, vets, interested industry parties and government stakeholders, as well as being published in academic journals and presented at conferences.

Research interests:

Associated research work includes:

  • Dairy cow and young-stock nutrition
  • Early disease detection through precision farming
  • Energy use and greenhouse gas emissions
  • Examination of soil health and effects on greenhouse gas emissions
  • Novel forages and mixed swards
  • Nutrient profile

Contrasting systems are examined at Crichton Royal, generally forage based the previous forage system relied upon home-grown feeds with winter-housing, and the landless system relies on bought-in feeds that are by-products or co-products of crops primarily grown for human consumption. This has moved to a high energy diet compared to a standard energy diet, running for the last 7 years. With an additional emphasis on reducing the carbon footprint of the farms.

Crichton is also undertaking projects looking at dairy sensors, Precision Livestock Farming, Climate Smart Cattle Farming and Keeping Cow with Calf.