• Work begins: January 2018
  • Work completed
  • Cost: £9.4M
  • Contractors: Hall

Brief: To establish competitive advantage for the University of Leeds amongst a unique, leading-edge research environment across Europe.

The University is a member of a consortium of 12 Research Providers known as the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL).

The facility provides a new indoor research facility housing 440 sows; establishing an outdoor herd of 220 sows; provision of related office space and seminar and meeting rooms.

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The University of Leeds invested in new facilities at its farm to carry out research into nutrition, production, behaviour and welfare for pigs.

The CIEL Spen Farm project is a 9,500m² extension to the existing pig farm owned by the University of Leeds.

The farms infrastructure has been increased in capacity to meet industry demand for data production in relation to animal feed delivery systems.

The project includes the construction of a number of pig accommodation buildings, the installation of a state of the art feeding system, slurry disposal system and the construction of an ancillary building which contains; office, conference and welfare facilities for the farm management team and post-graduate students based on site.

The investment also includes a three-fold increase in the number of sows from 200 to 660, with 220 of these sows housed outdoors. This puts the facility on a par with commercially-run pig farms and will create a step change in the type of research the University’s academics can carry out.

Larger sample sizes increases the scope of research that can be conducted and provides information to commercial farmers and the livestock support industries enabling them to make informed choices that could help increase profitability and sustainability.

Among the most prominent outcomes of the new investment will be a greater ability for researchers to make feed recommendations for pigs to keep pace with ongoing genetic improvements.

New equipment and facilities will include:

  • A CCTV network to monitor the pig herd 24/7
  • Equipment to automatically feed and monitor what each pig consumes
  • Technical facilities to identify each pig genetically through its DNA
  • Teaching centres and on-site laboratories to complement high-spec campus labs
  • New animal accommodation including flexible penning and birthing arrangements
  • Both indoor and outdoor production systems

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