Röbäcksdalens research barn

Last changed: 16 August 2022
A red and white cow who looks into the camera. Photo.

At Röbäcksdalen about 2 km from Umea city center there is a national center for ruminant research. The research barn offers an excellent environment for evaluation and feeding of forages for predominantly dairy cows. There are also possibilities for management studies and studies on calves and heifers.

A barn for cows and fields for forage

The facilities at Röbäcksdalen are an important resource for research in forage and in sustainable milk production. Scientists and industry have access to a unique research environment, where new technologies in milk production are used and where research of the highest class is conducted. The barn, which was build in 2006, houses 127 dairy cows + recruitment animals. It is divided in two sections, one which is insulated and one which is not. Feed for the cows are produced on surrounding fields, which amounts to approximately 240 hectars. The crop rotation is forage intensive and predominately consist of grass and clover leys for pasture and silage and cereals, mainly barley.

The production today

All the animals in the farm belong to the breed Swedish red cattle, SRB, or Viking Red, which is the market name for the Swedish red breed. The herd is, and has long been, an elite herd of fine cows with high scores in the exterior assessments that are made several times a year. The herd also has a high genomic index which in Sweden is measured in NTM, Nordic Total Merit. According to the latest compilation, the average NTM of the herd is +13 NTM, which led to a fifth place among Swedish farms with SRB cows. In the spring of 2020, a heifer was sold from SLU Röbäcksdalen to Hollola for flushing of embryos and several of the heifers are every year on the genomic podium places within their respective breeding lines.

In the barn, there are about 110 dairy cows that have an average yield of about 10,500 kg ECM per cow and year. The milk has a fairly high fat content of over 4.6% and a protein content of about 3.6%. The calving interval is 12.6 months and the heifers calve at 24.4 months of age.


An picture of a barn surrounded by fields fromt he air. Photo.
The barn is located rather centrally in Umeå and is surrounded by pasture fields. Photo Håkan Nilsson.
Inside a barn with cows. Photo.
The non-insulated part of the barn has curtains that can be raised when the weather is warmer.
Inside of a barn with cows and blue feed bunks. Photo.
Most of the research is done in the insulated part of the barn
Milking parlour with space for cows on both sides. Photo.
Sixteen cows can be milked at the same time in the milking parlour

Grateful for our dontors

Some of the equipment in our research barn would not have been made possible without the help of donations. One specific donor which has meant a lot to NJV and to the barn is Kempestiftelserna. As an example they donated 5 million SEK for basic equipment when the barn was build in 2005-2006. They have also contributed to other types of equipment during the years, among others the GreenFeeds and the body condition score cameras.


Jenni Burman, Experiment Technician
Department of Agricultural Research for Northern Sweden, Röbäcksdalen dairy research farm
jenni.burman@slu.se, +46907868761, +46732902583

Mårten Hetta, Researcher/deputy Head of department
Department of Agriculture Research for Northern Sweden, SLU
marten.hetta@slu.se, +46(0)90 786 8747, +46(0)70-589 83 55