This research is also looking at crop-livestock systems.

Ensuring Sustainable and Responsible Production of Healthy Food from Healthy Animals

University of Bristol

Researchers: Mark Eisler and Michael Lee

Funder: Worldwide Universities Network

A collaboration to research ‘future farming’ systems, sustainable and responsible production of healthy food from healthy animals has been developed.

The group support a vision where people in all regions can enjoy the benefits of appropriately moderate consumption of high quality animal products with net health benefit.

Integrated farming systems consider how to implement nutrient cycling so that animal waste products are used to the maximum potential. This will minimise both greenhouse gas emission and use of artificial fertilisers.

The research is not only looking at livestock rearing, but also at mixed crop-livestock systems in which human inedible crop residues may be fed to livestock, themselves producing manure for fertilising crops.

Optimisation of livestock feeds will focus on pasture utilisation of polyphenol oxidase-containing red clover (Trifolium pretense), which as well as fixing nitrogen has the potential to increase levels of N-3 (omega-3) fatty acids in meat of grazing animals with resultant health benefit to both animal and consumer.

Another aspect of this programme focuses on ‘One Health’, the interactions amongst human, animal and ecosystem health.

The research will investigate how the improved nutrition of livestock may lead to direct health benefits for animals, improving their welfare, and also indirectly benefiting consumers.

Dairy cattle in intensive production systems, commonly suffer from metabolic diseases in addition to conditions which predispose animals to infectious disease and a wider range of ailments, including infertility, lameness and welfare problems.

The collaboration includes the Universities of Bristol, Leeds, Western Australia, Pennsylvania State (USA), Kerala Veterinary and Animal Science (India) and Zhejiang (China) along with Rothamsted Research - North Wyke.