Animal Systems

Cow

The Animal Systems group consists of scientists studying more efficient ways of producing high quality animal products with emphasis on ruminants (dairy, beef and sheep). The group also special specialises in companion equine science. The group has expertise in animal nutrition, animal genetics, farm animal systems including economics and equine nutrition, behaviour and reproduction.

Research

Environment  the aim of this area is to carry out research on ways of minimising the environmental impact of farm livestock while maintaining a productive landscape.  Current research projects include investigations into methane emissions from sheep and cattle to establish emission factors for a new UK GHG inventory, dietary feed components and additives to reduce methane emissions, and management strategies to reduce nitrogen excretion.

Livestock and Consumer Health the aim of this area is the utilisation and development of feeding systems that will improve the health of the animal and the quality of the animal product which will ultimately result in a healthier consumer. Such work involves the increase in the deposition of beneficial fatty acids in to animal products and the reduction of pathogens in the food chain.

Agricultural Systems the aim is to develop innovative agricultural systems to deliver improvements in agricultural productivity, environmental protection, economic stability and animal health. Research focus includes the optimisation of nutrient use from soil to animal products within low-input, high-forage ruminant livestock systems – with a specific objective of reducing reliance on imported feeds, fertilisers and veterinary pharmaceuticals.  

Equine primary research areas include: microbial diversity and change within the equine gut, factors that affect this microbial population and their interrelationship to equine health and performance; genetic diversity within and between equine breeds, link to evolutionary development and selection by mankind; conception and early equine pregnancy, follicular development, multiple ovulation, multiple pregnancy, early embryo mortality, early pregnancy diagnosis and assessment of pregnancy viability; biomechanics; monitoring of pressure distribution on the horse’s back.  Colleagues support taught degree programmes from Foundation degree to M.Sc. in Equine Studies/Science and research degrees M.Phil. and Ph.D.