Robotic dairy shed housing 600 cows proposed for Chorley

A cattle shed housing 600 robotically-milked cows could be coming to Chorley.

Saturday, 10th November 2018, 3:39 pm
Updated Monday, 12th November 2018, 8:51 pm
Cows would learn to associate being milked with getting fed in the proposed shed system

The owners of Yew Tree House Farm in Coppull have applied to build the facility on land to the east of Wigan Road, around four miles from their existing base on Coppull Hall Lane.

J&B Woodcock and Sons say that the unit - which will be approximately 250,000 square feet in size and located on land already being used for agriculture - will “far exceed any regulatory requirements”.

Members of Chorley Council’s development control committee will visit the site before deciding whether to approve the plan later this month. Documents submitted as part of the planning application claim that “the reality of modern-day agriculture is that it needs to be at a scale to make it viable”.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The cows in the shed will “volunteer” to be milked at a time of their choosing. Their feeding pens will be located alongside milking robots, a layout designed to encourage cattle to associate food with being milked - and increase the volume of milk produced by each cow.

Machines will identify whether a cow is due to be milked and sensors will then attach cups to its teats. It is expected that the vast majority of the herd will have become accustomed to the system within a week.

Yew Tree House Farm claims that robotic milking and feeding is “incredibly tranquil”, as it reduces the “bullying and stress” which occurs when cattle are sent for milking en masse at set times of the day. The shed will have open slat eaves to maintain airflow and slurry from the site will deposited in underground tanks before being treated for re-use as fertiliser.

Five objections to the application have been submitted, with concerns including odour and noise pollution.

One objector states: “I fear the proposed construction will have a serious and negative impact on both the greenbelt and local wildlife, as well as [providing] a source of considerable nuisance to neighbouring properties.”

J&B Woodcock and Sons opened a milk processing factory in Skelmersdale eight years ago. The facility receives milk from farms located across the North West.

Yew Tree House Farm was invited to comment on its plans for Coppull, but declined.