Dumfries dairy innovation centre hit by financial pressures

Plans for a dairy innovation centre near Dumfries have been revised due to financial pressures.

Scotland's Rural College (SRUC) said the original proposals at its Barony Campus at Parkgate had proved too expensive.

It blamed a range of factors including Brexit, inflation and the Covid pandemic for the decision.

It added that the new centre would still prove to be a vital facility for the industry.

Plans for the new innovation centre were submitted last year on the site which has provided agricultural education since the 1950s.

The "digital dairy" project landed more than £21m in funding support in 2021.

It will examine how technology can help both farmers and processors to improve how they operate.

As well as looking at creating new products and new ways of working, it planned to help reduce the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the industry.

Revised plans

The innovation centre will become home to about 60 staff - 15 of them new - in due course.

However, a revised set of plans has now been submitted in a bid to save money and time.

The original scheme would have seen a two-storey building but that has been replaced by a single-storey structure working with Portakabin.

Professor of dairy nutrition John Newbold said: "On completion, SRUC's dairy nexus will be a flagship facility that will help to decarbonise the dairy industry and boost productivity throughout the region.

"Due in part to the combined financial pressures caused by Brexit, Covid and inflation, the original design for the dairy nexus proved too expensive.

"Not only will this new, modular design allow us to reduce both costs and build time, but it also provides excellent opportunities for future growth."