Livestock health research to receive £6m funding boost

Eblex and Bpex will receive funding to improve livestock health as part of a £6m research programme.

The Animal Health Research Club (ARC), of which the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is a member, has announced a £6m-plus funding programme to help improve livestock health and fight disease.

Eblex and Bpex will receive a share of the funding, which will be spent on a range of projects, including investigations into the genetics of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), resistance to cryptosporidiosis in cattle and inflammatory processes in ovine foot-rot.

The dairy industry will also receive a share of the funding. In total, £10.8 million of ARC grant funding has been allocated to 15 research projects. These decisions are based on the industry relevance and scientific excellence of proposals, AHDB reported.

“The projects that have been selected by the steering group are key to us understanding more about the resistance to pests and diseases in farmed animals,” said Kim Matthews, Eblex head of research and development.

“We’re really excited about the latest projects, as widespread health problems in the UK sheep flock such as worms and foot-rot are costly for farmers. The research will help the industry develop the next steps to reduce the incidence of these diseases.”

Andrew Knowles, head of technical at Bpex, also stressed the importance of researching diseases that pose similar challenges to the pig industry. He said: “PRRSV is a viral disease that is very difficult to control and there are many things we don’t understand about it. Plus it causes huge economic losses in the pig sector.

“We hope this research will help pave the way to combating the problem in the long term.”

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