CIEL | Beef and Sheep Research Capability

Productivity | Nutrition | Health & Welfare | Behaviour | Reproduction

World-leading research capability for the ruminant sector

Beef and sheep production faces challenges in several areas including changes to farm support mechanisms, environmental legislation, fragmented supply chains, price volatility and relatively low adoption of new technologies.

To improve productivity, profitability & sustainability in the sector, CIEL investment is focused on genetic improvement, precision nutrition, disease reduction, novel management approaches and environmental measurement.

Expertise includes:

  • Soil, water quality and ecosystem services
  • Grazing research and farm system-based analysis
  • Nutritional efficiency and energy metabolism
  • Grassland farming, ruminant metabolism, food science
  • Virology / immunology / vaccinology and bioinformatics

Additional expertise and facilities to support the beef and sheep sector are also available through the following CIEL academic partners: Harper Adams University; University of Edinburgh Roslin Institute; Newcastle University; University of Bristol; and University of Nottingham.

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    Accelerating improvements in beef production.

    The Harper Adams University modern beef research platform measures intake of feed and water, greenhouse gas emissions, body weight and feeding behaviour of individual cattle, to assess feed efficiency in growing and finishing animals.


    Optimising production efficiency, environmental sustainability and animal health and welfare.

    AFBI offers research capability in the areas of grazing and indoor feeding systems with capacity to precisely monitor individual dietary intake, behaviour, health and welfare, from birth through to adulthood. Dedicated calf and youngstock research facilities enable investigation of feed digestion, metabolism and overall gaseous emissions from young and adult cattle.


    Increasing the efficiency and improving the environmental performance of ruminant production systems.

    The SRUC Beef and Sheep Research Centre links leading-edge developments in biology and engineering through to effects on the financial and environmental performance of ruminant production systems.


    A unique national and global research facility linked to real-world farming.

    Rothamsted Research North Wyke Farm is the world’s most instrumented grazing platform, coupling three self- contained ‘farmlets’ with an analytical laboratory to measure changes to soil, water and air, enabling the impact of grazing ruminant livestock to be characterised.


    Providing capability to carry out detailed metabolic studies.

    Sited on Aberystwyth University’s Gogerddan campus within the Institute of Biology, Environmental and Rural Sciences (IBERS), the Small Ruminant Research Platform is supporting the commercial development of new and existing products and systems to improve nutrient use efficiency in sheep and goats.


    Optimising production efficiency by improving animal health and performance.

    A major component of the AFBI Sustainable Sheep Production Research Platform is a research programme to improve production efficiency through enhancing animal health and performance. An additional research area aims to improve environmental sustainability by minimising the impacts of sheep production on the environment.


    Find out about all our beef and sheep capability in the full CIEL Ruminant Brochure featuring details of the research capability available, technical specifications, video walkthroughs and case studies.