On November 28, a National Pig Centre in Yorkshire was opened by The University of Leeds in partnership with CIEL (Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock). The project, which originally planned to accommodate about 220 sows, managed to reach 660 sows with the support of CIEL, a consortium of 45 business partners and 12 research institutions. CIEL collaborates with businesses across the livestock supply chain to help research the challenges the sector faces. Its main aim is to reach solutions to pressing industry issues and deliver new technologies and processes that address them.
Supported by more than £11 million investment, the National Pig Centre is anticipated to lead the industry of pig farming towards improving pig nutrition, health and behaviour. The new collaboration between The University of Leeds and CIEL is expected to act as a bridge between researchers and the industry to improve food security and the sustainability of the agricultural sector.
The National Pig Centre is a facility that is anticipated to help deliver the goals of the Global Food and Environment Institute (GFEI), which strives to solve the challenge of feeding the world and protecting natural resources.
Within the farm, researchers will get a chance to monitor the sows regularly throughout all stages of production, thanks to the efficient CCTV systems installed throughout the indoor facility. Automated data collection methods from the video footage and computer vision will be used to observe the behaviour and the nutrition of each individual pig within the facility. Students from the university will also get a chance to participate in the research centre as a part of their studies.
Commenting on the project, Sir Alan Langlands, vice-chancellor of the University of Leeds, said: “The National Pig Centre will provide a key national resource for industry to work in partnership with the University, to develop innovative and practical solutions that make a positive contribution to the economy, environment and society.”