Developing a new approach to feeding ruminants

A research project will focus on a new approach to feeding ruminants and aims to enhance productivity, sustainability, animal health and welfare. Photo: jcomp
A research project will focus on a new approach to feeding ruminants and aims to enhance productivity, sustainability, animal health and welfare. Photo: jcomp

Innovative ways to feed ruminants are to be explored following the launch of a new partnership between nutrition and supplement company, UFAC-UK, and the University of Nottingham’s Centre for Dairy Science Innovation.

The research project, supported by the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL), will focus on the development of a new approach to feeding ruminants. It aims to improve productivity and sustainability and enhance animal health and welfare.

Total supply chain benefits

It is anticipated that the project will be completed in the first half of 2022. It will look at various new products from UFAC (UK) aimed to improve product quality performance and bring total supply chain benefits to producers and consumers, including animal feed manufacturers, producers and processors, food manufacturers and consumers.

The research work will be led by a professor of dairy science, Professor Phil Garnsworthy, who is renowned for his work on dairy cow nutrition and the efficiency of feed utilisation for milk production.

Cutting cows’ methane emissions

Garnsworthy is currently also involved in research for Tesco and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) around trialling as a dietary supplement that aims to cut cows’ methane emissions in the hope of reducing the dairy sector’s greenhouse gas emissions. Methane emitted by cows belching is being measured by sensors on food bins and milking stalls at the university’s farm. It successful, it is hoped the supplement could reduce methane emissions by as much as 30%.

Aligning with livestock challenges

CIEL believes the project aligns with 4 of 6 ‘grand challenges’ facing livestock production at present, which are:

  • Developing climate-smart food systems
  • Resource efficiency and precision nutrition
  • Animal health and welfare management
  • Food quality and integrity

“…drive a sustainable and productive future”

Lyndsay Chapman, CEO of CIEL, said she was delighted to be involved in the initiative: “The research project covers areas we believe are critical to helping drive a sustainable and productive future for the agri-food sector, while also being highly innovative.”

She added, “CIEL is passionate about championing industry-led research and working with our members to promote and deliver innovation in livestock production systems. As an industry, we face many challenges, but it’s also a very exciting time as projects like this bring advances to feeding and nutrition.”

UFAC (UK)

UFAC (UK) is a 40-year-old family-owned company, specialising in the innovation and development of blending liquid nutrient resources and dry products, combining high-quality protein sources with enhanced nutrient availability and a range of omega-3 supplements. It has its production base in Woolfox, Leicestershire.

McDougal
Tony McDougal Freelance Journalist