CIEL SPEN Farm

  • Work begins: January 2018
  • Work due to be completed: June 2019
  • Cost: £9.4M
  • Contractors: Hall

Brief: The aim of the project is to establish a competitive advantage for the University of Leeds amongst a unique, leading-edge research environment across Europe. The University is a member of a consortium of 12 Research Providers known as the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL). The facility will provide a new indoor research facility housing 440 sows; establishing an outdoor herd of 220 sows; provision of related office space and seminar and meeting rooms.

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Status

Enabling works will commence Jan-Mar 2018
Main Works commence June 2018

Drainage work to site, along with installation of two slurry tanks is now complete. Good progress is being made towards the completion of the Pig Performance Training Building and the Nigel Bertram Visitor Centre.

The University is investing in new facilities at its farm to carry out research into nutrition, production, behaviour and welfare for pigs. Yorkshire will soon become one of the best places in Europe for pig nutrition, behaviour, welfare and production system research, thanks to significant investment from the University of Leeds and the Government.

The CIEL Spen Farm project is a 9,500m² extension to the existing pig farm owned by the University of Leeds. The farms existing infrastructure is to be increased in capacity to meet industry demand for data production in relation to animal feed delivery systems. The project includes the construction of a number of pig accommodation buildings, the installation of a state of the art feeding system, slurry disposal system and the construction of an ancillary building which contains; office, conference and welfare facilities for the farm management team and post-graduate students based on site.

The investment also includes a three-fold increase in the number of sows from 200 to 660, with 220 of these sows housed 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.

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.

New equipment and facilities will include:

  • A CCTV network to monitor the pig herd 24/7
  • Equipment to automatically feed and monitor what each pig consumes
  • Technical facilities to identify each pig genetically through its DNA
  • Teaching centres and on-site laboratories to complement high-spec campus labs
  • New animal accommodation including flexible penning and birthing arrangements
  • Both indoor and outdoor production systems

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