Introduction to Livestock and Production Systems - (15 credits)

This module provides background information on livestock production and animal welfare in the UK including national statistics and the role of livestock in the wider UK economy. It introduces the concept of a production system, system inputs and outputs with associated resource use. Students will then be guided through the various production systems for each species, for example the UK stratified sheep industry, intensive (indoor) and extensive (outdoor) pig production, poultry (eggs and meat) and a number of alternative livestock species. Wherever possible lectures will be backed up with real life examples of production systems, both at the University College farm and local commercial producers. The module’s content will be underpinned by high animal welfare standards and measurable ways of securing further enhancement in the UK. AFTP website - “understanding of sustainability factors impacting livestock production systems and will be able to identify specific issues relating to pig, poultry, dairy, and ruminant meat production systems. This will be of particular use to professionals working with livestock and looking to develop sustainability” Cambridge University - “use of pastures with shrubs and trees is more sustainable, improving animal welfare and increasing biodiversity. Consumers are increasingly demanding higher standards for how their meat is sourced, with animal welfare and the impact on the environment factoring in many purchases. Unfortunately, many widely-used livestock production methods are currently unsustainable. However, new research out today from the University of Cambridge has identified what may be the future of sustainable livestock production: silvopastoral systems which include shrubs and trees with edible leaves or fruits as well as herbage”.