Livestock performance

Do you buy meat in Britain? Do you pick up recipe cards from the butcher’s counter? How to barbecue lamb chops, how to make lamb korma. Those free cards are provided by the levy boards.

Levies are paid by farmers and growers, slaughterers and exporters. The levy boards are collectively known as the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) Devolution is an ongoing tale in the UK and I get a little bit confused about who’s who! but I know what the levy boards do. They’re all about the industries. For the meat industries, the levy boards advertise the product – those recipe cards – and they provide advice to farmers. They also fund research.

Three of the divisions of AHDB cover England (EBLEX, Scotland (QMS and Wales (HCC These divisions jointly funded my PhD about Toxoplasma gondii in sheep. The Toxoplasma genome has been sequenced but just now, I’m thinking about sheep.

I’m particularly thinking about the performance of sheep as livestock. EBLEX research concerns six ‘key areas’:

animal health and welfare

animal nutrition

climate change

genetic selection

meat eating quality and safety

systems and cost of production

The meat industries rely on livestock performance. Beef and sheep farmers can choose to have measurements taken on their flocks by Signet, the national genetic evaluation service for cattle and sheep Signet is part of EBLEX. The measurements are stored in the Signet database from which breeders can judge their herds’ or flocks’ performance.

About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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