£2.2m AgriTech funding offers new R&D opportunities

Published: 15 March 2017

Special funding of more than £2.2m - just awarded to SRUC - means three exciting new research facilities can be built.

These will offer real opportunities for innovative progress in livestock feeding efficiency and meat quality in Britain.

The finance, from the Government’s Innovate UK Fund, was won by CIEL (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock), an innovative consortium of 12 world-class animal science research institutes, including SRUC, which work in partnership with industry, to raise the levels of food production and quality.

Work on the three projects will begin soon. The first will be one the few feed mills in Europe designed specifically to manufacturer experimental pig and poultry diets under accurate and precise conditions.

Another is a laboratory equipped to develop faster ways of measuring meat eating quality with the information used in animal breeding programmes.

The third facility will utilise the latest sensor technology to make sheep production more efficient by identifying animals best able to convert the feed they eat into marketable meat.

Talking about the experimental food mill project Professor Nick Sparks, Animal and Veterinary Sciences Group Manager, said: “There are very few facilities available in Europe able to achieve what we are aiming for in this new unit. When combined with the new poultry growing facilities that CIEL and SRUC are investing in and the pig and poultry facilities already existing in the CIEL consortium, the new feed manufacturing mill gives our pig and poultry industry world-leading research capability.”

Professor Mike Coffey, Team Leader Animal & Veterinary Sciences, said livestock breeders will be able to use research from the other two projects to raise productivity and quality. “Particular attention will be given to maintenance costs of mature ewes since the national ewe flock is a major consumer of livestock food and land area to produce it. It is estimated that raising feed efficiency this way could save the UK sheep industry £30m.”

Dr Mark Young, Head of Innovation for CIEL, said: “Our goal with these investments is Innovation. True innovation will be new ways of doing things that are widely adopted by industry. That will come if they are demonstrably more profitable, more efficient or make farming and food production more sustainable. Industry is the key partner in CIEL if we are to make this happen.”


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