Food security of animal production

27 September 2012, 10.00 AM - 27 September 2012, 10.00 AM

North Wyke Farm Platform, Devon

This 2-day workshop is focused on the food security of animal production.

The aim of the workshop is to work in small groups on specific projects, generating viable grant proposals for  existing calls by the end of the workshop.  The event will be informal and involve researchers from all partners in the FSLRA - Bristol, Exeter and Rothamstead.

The proposed project ideas can be found below. You are asked to either join one of the existing projects or to nominate a new idea (with a proposed champion or lead) however during the workshop attendees will be able to contribute to more than one group.

For more information about the event and to register, please see the event listing on the RED website

Contacts: Philippa Bayley and Kathleen Sedgley.

1) Badger behaviour and the epidemiology of bovine TB

Can modelling badger behaviour within home ranges help predict spread of bovine TB?  What would be the likely effect of selective removal of diseased badgers, and with what degree of accuracy in distinguishing healthy and diseased individuals?  Making use of badger presence on North Wyke Farm and other specialist interest groups in the surrounding area. We shall approach this using evolving techniques of ecological and epidemiological modelling drawn from complexity science.

Leads: Mark Eisler, Bristol & Robbie McDonald, Exeter

2) Optimising livestock farming systems for multiple factors

Can models be created to balance between factors such as animal welfare, animal disease, product quality, production efficiency, environmental sustainability and livestock productivity in order to design farming systems that can operate optimally across multiple factors?

McInerney, 2004 modelled animal welfare and productivity, creating the now famous McInerney Curve.  This curve demonstrated that welfare levels could change substantially in relation to production and that both low and high production could result in sub optimal welfare.

We would like to develop a proposal that integrates a wider range of factors into this model in order to look at the tradeoffs between productivity and a range of other factors at system level.

Leads: Becky Whay, Bristol & Martin Blackwell, N Wyke

3) Nutrient cycling and livestock interactions

How do livestock affect nutrient cycling (particularly Nitrogen) in different farmland regimes?

What are the impacts on ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration and other green house gas controls?

Leads: Richard Evershed, Bristol & Phill Murray, Rothamstead (N Wyke)

4) Risk and animal disease

How can the Exceedance Probability Curve be used to justify investment in risk aversion measures for animal disease such as surveillance? How can it be used to model, calculate and control the risk of animal disease?

As Exceedance Probability Curves can be influenced by risk factors and mitigating factors in epidemiology, it may be possible to use this method as a tool to assess the justification of investment in animal disease surveillance and other risk mitigation measures.  A more intensive level of surveillance, or other disease mitigating measure, may reduce the risk or extent of disease outbreaks. This method would make it possible to calculate where the expected frequency and size of outbreaks exceeds the level of investment in mitigating measures, and to identify an optimum where the costs of the investment are less than or equal to the loss prevented. The use of Exceedance Probability Curves for various levels of disease mitigation measures would make it possible to calculate the amount of cost prevented by the level of the measures.

Leads: Ed van Klink, Bristol & Steve Hinchcliffe, Exeter

Other potential topics:

  • Farmers’ attitudes and behaviour in relation to animal disease and biosecurity

In several European countries (France, Denmark, The Netherlands) farmers have taken up disease control programmes aimed at achieving disease-free status of their farms for specified diseases much more readily than in the UK. Why is that, what are the mechanisms that underlie this behaviour, and, more importantly, can we influence those attitudes and behaviours?


Source: RED events

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