Yorkshire will soon become one of the best places in Europe for pig research, thanks to significant investment from the University of Leeds and the Government. The University of Leeds has launched new facilities at its farm to carry out research into outdoor-reared pigs, and is significantly upgrading its indoor-reared pig research centre. The combined investment across the facilities is worth in excess of £7m.
Leeds’ pig research focuses on themes identified by the livestock industry as central to improving quality and productivity: animal nutrition, production systems and reproduction, behaviour and environment.
The investment includes a three-fold increase in the number of sows from 200 to 600. Of these, 200 will live outdoors. This will put the facility on a par with commercially-run pig farms and will create a step change in the type of research the University’s academics can carry out.
Larger sample sizes will increase the scope of research that can be conducted and will provide information to commercial farmers and the livestock support industries enabling them to make informed choices that could help increase profitability and sustainability.