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UK scientists come together to help feed the 7 billion
Date:10/27/2011

rust to tackle these problems. First, the project teams collated scientific information about the risk factors that influence these painful conditions. Both projects then, crucially, developed and tested the best methods of helping farmers to implement this knowledge on farm. The involvement of dairy companies (MilkLink, OMSCo, Long Clawson, Dairy Crest), laying hen producers (Noble Foods, Stonegate, Country Fresh Pullets) industry bodies and farm assurance schemes (RSPCA Freedom Food, Soil Association, Assured Dairy Farms, BEIC) was essential for success. In partnership, the projects developed new approaches that are now showing real results on farm. In both situations, practical strategies for commercial farms were devised, and the effectiveness of these strategies was tested on treatment farms (which received ongoing advice and support) by comparing the reduction in lameness or feather pecking with that observed on control farms (which were simply monitored).

For dairy cows, the initial mean prevalence of lameness on the 227 farms involved was 37%; at the project's conclusion over 4,800 fewer cows were observed to be lame. For laying hens, the more interventions that were implemented on the 100 farms involved, the greater the reduction in feather pecking observed.

Working to improve water usage efficiency

A new sensor developed by Rothamsted Research & Delta-T devices allows the measurement of matric potentials in soils, which can be used to control an irrigation system according to water stress, saving water.

The sensor, developed by Rothamsted Research, which receives strategic funding from BBSRC, and Delta-T Devices, can be used to accurately measure soil drying by roots over the whole season. It can also be used to control an irrigation system according to water stress and therefore save water. One potential use for this instrument is to decide whether or not to apply expensive irrigation water once the crop is grow
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Contact: Sarah Hoyle
s.hoyle@exeter.ac.uk
44-013-927-22062
University of Exeter
Source:Eurekalert

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