Research Projects

Current Research Projects

The Centre for Agricultural Innovation works on a variety of research projects, collaborating with a range of commercial partners and working with students from across the College. 

Improving Profitability by Increasing the Lambing Percentage Project

Start Date: August 2014
This project is running for three years.

Project Overview

Bishop Burton’s sheep enterprise consists of 370 North Country mules and Texel crosses. The flock is another commercial enterprise making up the College farm. As part of the partnership with Asda, a trial was planned with collaborative partner, Dunbia to improve the productivity of the flock and monitor the weight increase of the lambs.

Planning for this project began in August with the selection process of certain tupps and mating was managed to produce lambs over the period mid-February through to late March.

The lambs were fitted with EID’s (Electronic Identification Tags) which identifies the ewe and tupp used and tracks their movements. The lambs are weighed on a regular basis and the recorded data enables the College to identify which matings resulted in the biggest live weight gains.

Project Objectives

The aim of this project is to record data detailing the reproductive performance of the flock, the quality of the lambs produced and the timescale of their readiness for market based on breeding selection.

Key Staff

  • Philip Richardson, Farm Manager
  • Kate Hughes, Research Assistant
  • Robert Lea, Dunbia

FERA SCOPS Project

Start Date: 2011 
This project is running for five years.

Project Overview

The College farm has been part of a Food and Environment Agency (FERA) bench marking trial programme for several years now monitoring anthelmintic resistance in the sheep flock. The trials have resulted in changes to grazing and Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) management at the farm. The grazing system now being used is a rotational one with the sheep following on from cattle grazing and silage harvesting; there are also short term grass leys as break crops. The trials and resulting management changes have resulted in improved growth rates in the lambs allowing earlier readiness for market.

Project Objectives

The aim of this on-going project is to improve the parasitic resistance of the Bishop Burton flock, monitor and adapt grazing systems and improve growth rates in the lambs.

Key Staff

  • Colin Dennis, Farm Director
  • Philip Richardson, Farm Manager
  • Kate Hughes, Farm Administrator and Research Assistant
  • Tilly Stephens, FERA
  • Mark Howells of Howells Vets

ASDA / ABP Creep Feed Trial

Start Date: December 2016

Project Overview

The feed trial over view is to start calves from the beef herd born this autumn on creep feed at eight weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks after birth. The trial’s aim is to monitor the body condition of the cows and the growth of the calves until weaning at six / seven months.

The cows will be split evenly into groups and will be housed in the beef shed. Each group will require a creep feeder so the amount of creep fed to the calves can be monitored. The creep feeders have been purchased by ASDA / ABP

All calves on the trial will have had access to course calf so their stomachs have got used to the fibre in the diet.

The creep feed being offered is a manufactured feed and dietary advice has been sort before starting this trial.

All calves will be weighed at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks and at weaning.

Cows will be conditioned scored at calving, 8 weeks, 12 weeks, 16 weeks and at weaning. The vet will do this as part of routine visits which might be slightly out of the exact time frame.

Results will be recorded and presented.

Key Staff

  • Rhonda Thompson – CAI
  • Kate Hughes –  CAI
  • Phil Richardson – Assistant Farm Manager
  • Seth Waring – ASDA / ABP
  • Stuart Rhodes-Varleys – Lloyds Animal Feeds
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