The University is about to launch new facilities at its farm to carry out research into outdoor-reared pigs, and is set to significantly upgrade its indoor-reared pig research centre. The combined investment across the facilities is worth in excess of £7m.
Professor Helen Miller, Director of the University Farm, said: "We are making the investment to create new knowledge which will benefit both British pigs and the pig industry."
Leeds’ pig research focuses on themes identified by the livestock industry as central to improving quality and productivity: animal nutrition, production systems and reproduction, behaviour and environment.
"Animal feed is the largest variable cost which the industry bears," said Professor Miller, who is based in the University's Faculty of Biological Sciences.
"One of the areas we will study in this new facility is how to improve outdoor sow nutrition to maximise the wellbeing and productivity of individual animals.
"This should also result in improved profitability, providing significant support for individual farmers and for larger businesses across the rural economy."
The investment includes a three-fold increase in the number of sows from 200 to 600. Of these, 200 will live outdoors.
This will put the facility on a par with commercially-run pig farms and will create a step change in the type of research the University’s academics can carry out.
Larger sample sizes will increase the scope of research that can be conducted and will provide information to commercial farmers and the livestock support industries enabling them to make informed choices that could help increase profitability and sustainability.
Installing new outdoor facilities alongside the indoor facilities will create a unique capability, said Professor Miller.
Among the most prominent outcomes of the new investment will be a greater ability for researchers to make feed recommendations for pigs to keep pace with ongoing genetic improvements.
In addition, the University is recruiting a number of key staff to open up new areas of expertise. The most high profile recruit is Professor Lisa Collins, who is set to join in January from the University of Lincoln. Professor Collins is an epidemiologist, and has developed computer models to predict animal behaviour.
Professor Miller said the new facilities and staff, plus existing expertise, would put the University in a unique position in the UK, and enable it to rival European leaders in this field.
This is a UK-wide programme to link leading livestock research bodies with industry partners, to improve livestock quality and husbandry across the board.
Each of the 12 research organisations takes the lead on one aspect of livestock or related food research – Leeds is the lead organisation for pig research, while others such as the University of Nottingham lead on dairy.
There are currently 20 business and industrial partners, including AB Agri, Tesco, For Farmers ltd, The Co-Operative Group, and Devenish Nutrition.
Dr Mark Young, Director of Innovation at the Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Livestock said: "CIEL is investing in world class facilities to empower our world class scientists with the aim of driving innovation to enhance livestock food production across the supply chain.
"Our focus on innovation and our industry membership mean this will deliver real value to all parts of the supply chain. The University of Leeds outdoor pig unit is a key facility in our work to deliver user focused innovation to the pork industry."
Journalists requiring more details should contact Peter Le Riche in the University of Leeds press office on 0113 343 2049 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Graham Askew in collaboration with Bangor University, BBSRC (Mar 2017), £477,383
Stephen Muench, BBSRC (Mar 2017), £132,945
Nic Stonehouse, MRC (Mar 2017), £906,341
Bill Kunin, Steve Sait, BBSRC (Mar 2017), £602,831
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Katie Field, Rank Prize Funds (Nov 2016), £20,000
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Miriam Wittmann, Martin Stacey, Edward Vital, Lupus UK
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Sheena Radford, Alison Ashcroft, BBSRC (Sep 2016), £457,216
Patricija Van Oosten-Hawle, An-Jung Chen, David Westhead, NC3Rs
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Glyn Hemsworth, BBSRC (Sep 2016), £1,024,034
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Sheena Radford, Alison Ashcroft, BBSRC (Aug 2016), £457,215
Patricija Van Oosten-Hawle, Dave Westhead, An-Jung Chen, NC3Rs (Aug 2016), £354,456
Peter Henderson, EU - European Union
EU - European Union
(Jul 2016), £123,897
Adrian Goldman, EU - European Union
(Jul 2016), £116,290
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Eileen Ingham and colleagues in Engineering and M&H, EPSRC (Jul 2016), £3,867,449
Michael Colman, MRC (Jul 2016), £200,956
Tim Benton, Fresca Group Ltd
(Jul 2016), £52,082
Derek Steele, Sarah Calaghan, Chris Peers, BHF (Jul 2016), £819,241
Paul Millner and colleagues in Engineering and M&H, BBSRC (Jul 2016), £129,647
Vas Ponnambalam, Darren Tomlinson, Stephen Wheatcroft, BHF (Jul 2016), £107,359
John Colyer, Christian Teade and colleagues in M&H, Kidney Research Fund UK (Jul 2016), £39,964
Nicola Stonehouse, David Rowlands, World Health Organisation (Jul 2016), £656,545
Alexander Breeze, MRC
(Jul 2016), £403,513
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Joan Boyes, Peter Stockley, Roman Tuma, David Westhead, Bloodwise (Jul 2016), £232,960
Edwin Chen, Leuka
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Helen Miller, Hamlet Protein A/S
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Amanda Bretman, Elizabeth Duncan, Leverhulme Trust
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Andrew Macdonald, Neil Ranson, Richard Foster, Yorkshire Kidney Research Fund (Jul 2016), £51,368
Roman Tuma, Sheena Radford, BBSRC
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Adrian Whitehouse, Ian Carr, Worldwide Cancer Research (Jul 2016), £199,738
Paul Milner, Mike McPherson, Lars Jeuken, Darren Tomlinson and colleagues in Engineering & M&H, MRC (Jul 2016), £3,124,568
Helen Miller, Innovate UK (Jun 2016), £3,463,470
Adrian Goldman, Royal Society
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Jim Deuchars, Susan Deuchars, Shaunna Burke, Dunhill Medical Trust (Jun 2016), £86,570
Keith Hamer, Guy Ziv, DEFRA Dept for Env. Food & Rural Affairs
(Jun 2016), £300,122
Richard Bayliss, EU - European Union
(Jun 2016), £373,565
Sheena Radford, Eric Hewitt, Alison Ashcroft, Andrew Wilson, EPSRC (Jun 2016), £458,278
Jamel Mankouri, John Barr, British Lung Foundation
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Zahrah Timsah, Wellcome Trust (Jun 2016), £100,000
Andrew Macdonald, Kidney Research Fund UK
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Adrian Goldman, Royal Society (May 2016), £250,000
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John Ladbury, Christopher Jones, Cancer Research UK
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