Beef research centre opens doors

More than 300 visitors attended the recent opening of the Scottish Agricultural College's (SAC) new beef research centre.

Costing over £1m, with funding from the Scottish Government, the facility is located on Easter Howgate farm near Edinburgh and is capable of housing 330 suckler cows or 500 beef replacements.

The research centre will give scientists the opportunity to carry out a range of projects from simple beef feeding trials to the complexities of carbon footprinting.

SAC principal and chief executive Professor Bill McKelvey said: "This puts SAC in a pre-eminent position, with the largest facility of its kind in Britain. "Beef research has been underfunded for some time so this is a significant statement and represents a huge vote of confidence by the Scottish Government in the beef industry."

Those attending the event had the chance to view the latest live video techniques for assessing the eating quality of meat and the latest cattle handling facilities using lessons learned from studying animal behaviour.

Opening the facility, cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment Richard Lochead, said: "By its very nature science generates new knowledge and stimulates innovation that are exactly what is required to enable the beef sector to remain competitive in this rapidly changing world."

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