CIEL | Member Spotlight

Genetics | Reproduction | Behaviour | Nutrition | Health & Welfare | Productivity | Food Integrity | Environmental Impact

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB)

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The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) is an industry-funded organisation ideally placed to help farmers, growers and the supply chain prepare for the challenges that undoubtedly lie ahead.

This means helping the industry embrace new technologies, techniques and skills to become more competitive and profitable.

AHDB delivers transformational projects to drive productivity and boost farming & supply chain businesses. They help the industry thrive in a rapidly changing world and continue to produce high quality food, maintain the UK’s beautiful landscape and leave a legacy for generations to come.

To cover the whole supply chain, AHDB works closely with farmers, growers, packers, processors, agronomists, vets, and abattoirs. This helps unify the industry, bridge gaps in knowledge and encourage collaboration, and nicely parallels the work of CIEL.

We are pleased to work with CIEL on projects that benefit our combined stakeholders. Indeed, AHDB is proud to have been a lead player in the collaboration of industry and academic partners that worked to establish CIEL initially.

Kim Matthews, AHDB Head of Animal Breeding and Product Quality

One example of joint work is the Feed into Beef collaborative research project funded by AHDB, working in partnership with CIEL, Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

This 5-year programme will deliver improved beef cattle feeding guidelines. There is strong evidence that current guidance inaccurately estimates nutritional requirements for different classes of beef cattle. These nutrient requirements have not been revised since the publication of an AFRC book in 1993. Since that time, the genetic base of the cattle population has changed considerably, as have feeds commonly used by farmers. An update of these nutrition models is overdue and this project will focus updates on:

  • Predicting feed intake
  • Growth and the effects on carcase composition
  • Energy requirements
  • Protein requirements
  • Revised and broader information on feed values plus consideration of feed interactions

Results will be subjected to robust peer review and will underpin the advice given by beef nutritionists across the sector to ensure farmers receive the best possible information on feeding their animals for maximum performance.

AHDB is committed to delivering services that tackle the big challenges the industry faces. To ensure the focus remains on the right priorities, AHDB is providing levy payers with a greater say on how their levy is invested.

In April 2022, levy payers are being asked to have their say and influence what AHDB deliver for each sector. They will also be able to voice what they think are the major challenges across the industry and prioritise the work that is done to support these areas. They’ll also be asked to approve their sector representatives within AHDB.

AHDB has looked at what they believe is important to levy payers and will be asking questions about whether this is the right focus. In the livestock sectors, current activity includes:

  • work that goes into protecting the reputation of the industry, marketing the benefits of meat and dairy products to consumers through the ‘We Eat Balanced’ campaign and exports work, and the work that helps build on the already strong environmental credentials of UK products.
  • technical advice and guidance through manuals, tools and at events, including the Strategic and Monitor Farms.
  • work on disease surveillance, prevention and animal welfare, e.g. BVDFree, tackling one of the biggest disease issues facing the cattle industry today, costing UK farmers £25 to £61m per year.
  • genetic improvement work, providing an important way for producers to lift the productivity and profitability of their livestock enterprises. AHDB provides the information and tools for genetic selection for beef, sheep and dairy farmers. E.g. genetic gain within the UK is currently worth £10.7m to the sheep industry.
  • daily market prices and analysis of what’s on the horizon and what consumers are thinking and spending their money on.
    By taking part, levy payers will be directly influencing the AHDB sector councils, made up of producers, processors and other industry representatives, to prioritise the work AHDB does on their behalf.

Find out more at Home | AHDB

AHDB is a Non-Departmental Public Body, known as a ‘Levy Board’, funded by the agriculture and horticulture industries through statutory levies. It was established under the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board Order 2008. AHDB is an independent, evidence-based organisation with the duty to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of various agriculture and horticulture sectors in parts of the UK, including the following livestock sectors: Pig meat in England; Beef and lamb in England; and Milk in Great Britain.

Steer eating silage | AHDB

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