International Symposium

International Symposium

International Symposium

30 August 2011

Some of the world’s leading scientists in the field of livestock will be converging on Aberystwyth in September for one of the most important farming conferences of the year.

The international symposium will provide them and representatives from the food and farming industries with an opportunity to discuss the future of the farm animal sector in the face of the major challenges facing the planet.

According to the organisers, the proceedings could affect the sector’s prospects and the livelihood of millions of farmers for many years to come.

The conference, between 6 and 9 September, will focus on herbivore animals – from cattle in Wales to snails in Nigeria, sheep in Mongolia and rabbits in Spain.

The conference will also be an opportunity to show an international audience some of the pioneering research work taking place at IBERS – the Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences at Aberystwyth University – and in farms in mid Wales.

IBERS is organising the conference – the Eighth International Symposium on the Nutrition of Herbivores – jointly with Bangor University, through their established partnership the Centre for Integrated Research in the Rural Environment.

  • The international gathering will include more than 60 papers and lectures by some of the world’s leading scientists in the field.
  • Poster sessions will provide an opportunity to present information about 290 other international research projects.

A great honour

“It’s a great honour for IBERS to host this crucial conference,” said IBERS’ Director, Professor Wayne Powell. “It is recognition too of the importance of the world-class research work being carried on by us and our partners in Bangor University.


“From improving crops and developing new varieties that can withstand extremes of climate and environment to improving the efficiency of digestion in animals, IBERS is leading the way in solving some of the world’s most pressing problems.”

IBERS scientists will be amongst those making presentations about their work during the symposium, joining hundreds of leading scientists from all over the world, from China to Australia and from Scandinavia to the United States.

Amongst them, Dr Alison Kingston-Smith from IBERS will present one of the keynote papers on genetic improvement in crops to increase animal production and reduce the effect on the environment.

There will be presentations too on IBERS research in crop digestion in ruminant animals, on the characteristics of silage and red clover and on reducing the levels of methane released into the environment by cattle.

At a crossroads

The conference includes eight main sessions, one evening workshop and a half-day scientific journey to see some of the vital research work taking place in the region.

“Animal agriculture is at a crossroads,” said Professor Nigel Scollan from IBERS, chair of the local organising team and the speaker who will open and close the proceedings.

“There are competing pressures for land because of alternative forms of land use, there is a need to both mitigate against and adapt to the effects of climate change, combined with the need to meet society’s demand for safe, nutritious food produced at low cost.

“This symposium presents a unique opportunity for scientists and other stakeholders to work together to shape the future of herbivore production.”