By Neale McQuistin

A DIGITAL dairy project aiming to create 600 new jobs in south-west Scotland and Cumbria has been awarded more than

£21 million of funding.

Led by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), it is expected the Digital Dairy Value-Chain could generate an additional £60 million a year for a region which produces nearly two billion litres of milk a year.

Working with partners including the University of Strathclyde, University of the West of Scotland, CENSIS, First Milk, Lactalis UK & Ireland, Kendal Nutricare, Cows & Co Group, National Milk Records and SmartSTEMS, the project will provide a platform for research and business innovation in sustainable, high-value production.

The project team will work with the dairy industry to develop technologies for sensing and data-handling, as well as infrastructure to support innovation and growth for local businesses, nurturing young entrepreneurs and teaching new skills. It will deliver advanced manufacturing processes to create a fully integrated and traceable supply chain as well as help businesses to develop new products and explore new markets.

After receiving £21.3m from the UKRI Strength in Places fund, the project will be based at SRUC’s Barony campus near Dumfries, as well as at sites in Cumbria and south-west Scotland.

Professor Wayne Powell, principal and chief executive of SRUC, said: “This funding is wonderful news for the industry in Cumbria and south-west Scotland.”

South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) is also a partner in the project. Chair of the region’s economic and community development agency Professor Russel Griggs said: “SOSE is determined to work with our partners to help the south of Scotland maximise the economic opportunities available as we transition to net zero, and this project is a fantastic example.”

Market round-up

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 1,377 prime lambs at Newton Stewart yesterday which averaged out at 254p/kg or £111 per head. Top price per head was £130 for two pens of Beltex and for a pen of Suffolks. Beltex led per kilo at 281p. Cast sheep sold to £131 for Texel tups with ewes peaking at £121 for Texel crosses. Mules topped at £97, while Blackfaces sold to £78.

C&D Auctions Ltd sold 40 cattle in Dumfries yesterday where OTMs continue to be in demand.

Dairy types sold to 189p/kg and £1,327 to average 134p, while beef types peaked at 210p and £1,365 to average 177p. There were also 774 prime lambs which sold to £124 and 297p/kg. The 258 cast ewes averaged £96 for heavy weights and £82 for light ewes.