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A whole systems approach to optimising feed efficiency and reducing the ecological footprint of monogastrics

Project Summary

The ECO-FCE project commenced in February 2013 and is co-financed by the European Commission. Through a better understanding of the interactions between animal genetics, gut structure and function, the microbial population of the gut and the attributes of feed, ECO-FCE will propose strategies to improve feed use efficiency whilst also reducing the ecological footprint of pig and poultry production.

The project is co-coordinated by Queen‘s University Belfast and the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) Hillsborough. It brings together an international consortium of 17 partners from across Europe over a 4 year period to conduct research which will focus on one common objective:  To provide the European pig and poultry industries with innovative strategies and tools to feed a rapidly growing global population in an efficient and ecologically-friendly manner.  The Teagasc, Pig Production Department will play a central role in the project, leading one of its seven work packages while actively participating in all others. 

Expected benefits

  • Improved understanding of underlying factors creating variation in the monogastric digestive system,
  • Adoption of new systems to feed pigs and poultry which optimise FCE and reduce N and P excretion and GHG emission
  • Identification of innovative feed additives to improve nutrient utilisation and gut health and functionality, and to reduce greenhouse gas emission as well as N and P excretion
  • Identification of novel models to advance pig and broiler chicken breeding programs for improved feed use efficiency
  • Application of these new systems, tools and models will lead to more eficient feed utilisation, reduced greenhouse gas emission, and reduced N and P excretion.
  • Reduced feed costs for the pig and poultry sector thereby increasing profitability

 Teagasc Personnel:

Funding body:

  • European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7 2007/2013) under grant agreement No. 311794

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