A Monogastric Science Research Centre has been launched by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) focusing on the College’s work on pigs and poultry, particularly in relation to “vital research on nutrition”.
Headed by one of SRUC’s senior animal scientists, Dr Jos Houdijk, the new centre is being promoted as a “timely, appropriate and logical” step which will enable an increased integration of the College’s existing pig and poultry work.
“The centre will allow us to expand our cross-species approach,” said Dr Houdijk, adding that this would be essential in addressing future challenges, in particular those related to gut health.
SRUC is currently working on two large projects to assess the nutritional value of animal feed ingredients in relation to both pigs and poultry. The first is researching alternative sources of nutrition from faba beans (broad beans), while the other is looking into the nutritional value of rapeseed varieties. Both are part of ongoing work to find “alternative food sources and technologies for monogastric species” and are being carried out with the aim of helping to “reduce the UK farming industry’s reliance on imported feed, such as soya bean meal”.
“The gut is incredibly important, both when it comes to efficiently processing food and effectively resisting disease,” said Dr Houdijk.
“There are many questions still to be answered, however, when it comes to balancing these two priorities under the overall objective to increase sustainability of animal production systems. Our new centre will therefore help facilitate joint research in this area in the years ahead.”