The potential effects of large-scale livestock systems on animal health and welfare are set to come under the spotlight during a workshop looking at the future of livestock production.

The British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) will host the session as part of its 2014 annual two-day conference, Planning for Intensification, at the University of Nottingham on April 29 and 30.

Expert speakers will discuss system design and the technology and techniques being made use of in large-scale systems, and the potential effects on animal health and welfare.

As part of the conference’s wider aim to examine the role of animal science and technology in global food production, the workshop will also identify areas where more work is needed to address concerns over how food is produced.

“In the face of growing world populations, diminishing resources and changing food demands, we have to look at alternative food production systems,” said BSAS chief executive Mike Steele.

“Understandably, intensive production raises concerns for many, but it’s important to look behind the emotive arguments to see if we have the technology to address those concerns and, if not, what science can do to help overcome them.

“It is right that livestock production systems are properly scrutinised and if we decide large-scale systems are not for us, we need to think about where animal science and technology goes next to help us produce secure, sustainable food.”

The workshop will sit alongside conference presentations from world experts on the latest techniques, technologies and developments in animal science.

Aimed at farmers, vets, researchers and policy makers, presentations will focus on how technology is helping sheep, dairy cattle and poultry production, as well as where science needs to develop to help farm businesses be profitable and productive in 2020.

The event will also host a dedicated session, in conjunction with EBLEX, looking at improving ewe efficiency through better feeding, with a focus on efficient grass management, wintering diets and the role of good rationing.

For the full programme and for further details, visit BSAS’ website.

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