£70m plan to ‘transform livestock sector’

A £70m innovation centre aims to bring together researchers and the industry to transform the productivity of the UK livestock sector.

The Centre of Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIELivestock) will set up state-of-the-art facilities across the UK, providing the livestock sector with world-beating access to research.

It will bring together the best in breeding, animal health, biotechnology, feeding and genomics with a goal to generate £12 for each £1 spent on research.

The project is being backed by £31.7m in funding from the government’s Department for Business Innovation and Skills. Additional funding is coming from the industry and research institutions.

CIEL interim board chairman Nick Major said linking research for industry-led innovation with commercial farms on the ground would grow the profitability of the UK livestock sector.

See also: How Agri-Tech can help the UK farming industry

One aim is to provide the UK livestock sector with a research capability so the industry does not have to go abroad to do work – or wait for overseas work to be translated for a UK market.

It also aims to provide an uplift in livestock productivity and exports for the UK and speed up rates of innovation and discovery in livestock research and development.

The centre is being backed by senior leaders across the UK livestock and food industries, including Andrew Caines, group technical director for Cranswick.

“I see CIEL as a fantastic opportunity to provide world class research facilities to the UK livestock and meat processing industries,” he said.

Converting innovative research into commercial reality would give the UK livestock supply chain a real point of difference, said Mr Caines.

Kim Matthews, of AHDB Beef and Lamb, said investment in livestock research facilities in the UK would help bring new tools and techniques in animal science to farmers.

Professor Martin Green is leading on the project for Nottingham university. He said: “We have a team of dedicated academics with a wealth of experience in livestock research at Nottingham.

“We are all looking forward to working closely with colleagues in industry and academia, in order to find innovative solutions to the issues facing livestock producers and food manufacturers.”