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.
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 investment 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
For further information on the development of Spen Farm please contact: