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A vets view
Vet Jonathan Statham calls for more joined up leadership and more creative thinking to ensure the future of our livestock industry and UK food security in our Landbridge blog.

Celebrating 125 years of agricultural research and teaching at Newcastle
The School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development at Newcastle University is celebrating 125 years of agricultural research and teaching at Newcastle. The first Chair of Agriculture was established in 1891 at what was then the College of Science, (later to become Armstrong College) so this predates the university itself by some considerable margin. In1992, with the establishment of the Centre for Rural Economy, social science was brought into the mix. During the coming academic year they will be celebrating with a series of events and seminars. Head of the School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development Professor Rob Edwards said: 'On the 125th anniversary of agriculture at Newcastle there are many parallels in the challenges faced by UK farmers then and now: a difficult trading environment, a need for improved productivity and the endless need for change and innovation. The original Department was founded on its links with the industry and, just like our academic forebears, we continue the tradition of conducting research that makes a difference and of training the next generation of farming practitioners. The one difference is that our current approach to training and research extends beyond farming to include agribusiness, the food supply chain and healthy diets, and the links with rural enterprise. With that integrated vision in mind, we look forward to another 125 years of delivering innovation and new skills to the sector.'


Causes of piglet neonatal mortality
Piglet mortality is one of the main issues of concern for the pig industry. Crushing and stillbirths are considered as the most important causes of neonatal mortality. However further research is needed to develop better strategies for reducing piglet deaths by identifying the risk for each cause of mortality, and recognizing individual farm characteristics and their contribution to the problem. In a new report, PROHEALTH researchers have investigated the different causes of piglet neonatal mortality.


Foot health in broiler breeders
In intensive poultry production systems good foot pad health is crucial to ensuring a high level of animal welfare and high production yields. Often foot pad health is seen to decline over the production period and may subsequently result in increased mortality due to septicaemic infections, or a decreased egg production due to pain and discomfort. The most frequently isolated bacteria from these infections are staphylococci and enterococci, which need a port of entry to enter the blood stream and cause disease of the host. PROHEALTH researchers have produced a report on their investigation of the role of foot health in relation to development of disease caused by staphylococcus and enterococcus bacteria in broiler breeders.

Production diseases: the costs to poultry producers
Although it is understood that production diseases can be costly to poultry farms, the exact magnitude of these costs is not well quantified. To shed light on these costs, recent studies were reviewed. Many of these diseases occur persistently in poultry production and can become more severe in high intensity production systems and/or under poor management. These diseases incurred costs due to lost output and increased production costs, such as higher feed costs, but also costs of interventions to prevent or cure them. Some of these diseases were found to have a substantial negative impact on farms profit margins, in addition to impacts on bird health and welfare.

Hill and Lowland Grazing Livestock reports published
Rural Business Research (RBR) has published two new reports on Hill Farming in England and Lowland Grazing Livestock Production in England. These reports are drawn from the latest results from Farm Business Survey (FBS) 2014/15 data and cover farm revenues and farm business income. Mark Fogerty, RBR at Duchy College, commented 'Without the Single Payment Scheme, the average Lowland Livestock Grazing farm, in England, for 2014/15 would be making a Farm Business Income of 2,270GBP'.


IPBES seeks experts from a range of disciplines and traditional knowledge
The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service (IPBES) is calling for experts to join the Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services and the Thematic assessment on the Sustainable Use of Biodiversity. In addition to this call invites nomination of fellows to the IPBES Fellowship Pilot Programme, to participate in the Global Assessment on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services. IPBES is a science-policy interface established to provide a robust evidence base, together with the necessary tools and local capacity, to help decision makers around the world identify solutions to pressures on global ecosystems and loss of biodiversity; thereby securing long term human wellbeing and sustainable development. Experts are needed from a number of disciplines: natural science, social science, economics, data and modelling and traditional knowledge. For more information about IPBES go to the website and for applications a form is available on line. If you have any queries about the call email IPBES@jncc.gov.uk . Please note that the deadline for submitting the online application form is 5 May 2016.


ESRC report explores effects of referendum vote
An international group of academics has produced an ESRC funded review of the academic evidence on how EU membership has influenced UK policies, systems of decision making and environmental quality. It also explores what the effects might be of a vote either to Remain or Leave the EU. The purpose of this impartial review of the evidence is to explain, not to campaign for either side. By making the findings of existing academic research more widely available, the authors want to help voters make up their own minds. A summary of the report can be freely downloaded from the project website, which also hosts copies of the full report (which runs to 14 chapters and over 60,000 words) and other sources of factual information about the EU. For further information about the ESRCs UK in a Changing Europe Initiative, go to: http://ukandeu.ac.uk/

Gardening sustainably for the future

Gardening is an important activity for many people in the UK. The latest policy and practice note from LWEC looks at how the horticultural industry might help promote more sustainable garden practices.


Relu Newsletter - April 2016

The Rural Economy and Land Use Programme April 2016 Newsletter includes all the latest news and updates on Relu and LWEC research projects, events, staff and publications.



















"The more knowledge you share, the more you will benefit in return"

Mike Butcher, Agronomist and Landbridge member