Boost for innovative climate change farm projects

SRUC researchers are working with industry partners to offer climate-focused solutions for farms

Researchers at SRUC are involved in four industry-led innovative farm projects offering climate-focused solutions and farming technology.

The projects are funded by Defra’s Farming Innovation Programme and delivered by Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI.

Genus and researchers at SRUC, led by Professor Rainer Roehe, are providing targeted genetic solutions to the reduce environmental impact of the UK beef supply chain.

They have carried out ground-breaking research on beef cattle showing the potential of ruminal microbiome-driven breeding to mitigate methane emissions by up to 17 per cent per generation and improve the feed conversion ratio by up to 15 per cent per generation.

The award will enable the project to optimise and validate this new breeding strategy under practical conditions.

MI:RNA Ltd, working in partnership with SRUC Reader Spiridoula Athanasiadou, was given funding for its Johne’s disease identification project.

This project will combine a unique biomarker testing technology with artificial intelligence (AI) to help detect early-stage Johne’s disease in cattle, which leads to a significant reduction in milk yields and weight loss, as well as increasing the greenhouse gas production from affected animals.

A project led by Aquanzo, in partnership with SRUC Professor Jos Houdijk, will develop farmed marine proteins for poultry feed.

Finally, Synergy Farm Health received funding for its bovine tuberculosis (bTB) antibody testing project.

The project, which involves SRUC Professors Mike Coffey and Georgios Banos together with partners from NMR, will carry out a longitudinal study with an antibody test to detect bovine tuberculosis in bulk milk with the aim of improving the control of bTB in dairy herds through better welfare surveillance, reducing overall costs for farms and the taxpayer.

Eileen Wall, Head of Research at SRUC, said: *As we navigate the complex and pressing issue of climate change, it is paramount that we work together with the farming industry. Our farmers are not only the custodians of the land, but also critical partners in developing and implementing solutions that support sustainable food production and environmental protection.

“By linking science with the invaluable insights and experience of our farming industry, we can accelerate our efforts to tackle climate change and bolster the resilience of our agricultural sector. These projects demonstrate how SRUC research continues to collaborate with our industries to both innovate and implement solutions to tackle the climate change challenge head on.”

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Posted by SRUC on 13/06/2023

Tags: Agriculture, Funding and Grants, Climate and Environment
Categories: Research