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Precision feeding strategies for finisher pigs


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Ongoing deadline
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Additional supervisors
Dr Amy Taylor
School of Biology
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

The School of Biology invites applications from prospective postgraduate researchers who wish to commence study for a PhD in the academic year 2023/24. This opportunity is open to candidates who have the means to self fund their studies or who have a sponsor who will cover this cost. <br /> <br /> Nutrient recommendations for pigs need to be regularly reviewed and updated to ensure diets are meeting the requirements to support optimal growth performance. Traditionally nutrient requirements for pigs have been based on a summary of empirical evidence, however when meeting the nutrient requirements of a population of pigs, nutrient levels that do not meet requirements will reduce performance, whereas pigs in which nutrients are offered in excess will exhibit near optimal performance. Therefore nutrients, are often provided to satisfy the requirements of the most demanding pigs in the population to obtain optimal growth performance (Hauschild et al., 2010). As a result, pigs often receive more nutrients than they need, increasing nutrient output. Applying precision feeding practices that allows feed to be provided to pigs on a smaller group or individual basis with the correct nutrient composition to meet requirements for a particular stage of growth can have huge environmental benefits by avoiding nutrient oversupply and thus reducing nutrient excretion.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>The project will be carried out at the National Pig Centre (<a href="">NPC</a>). The NPC was developed in partnership between the Centre for Innovation Excellence in Livestock (CIEL) and the University of Leeds and is the UK&rsquo;s largest and most advanced facility for research into pig nutrition, behaviour, welfare &amp; health, and production systems. The centre provides access to commercial-scale pig management systems and cutting-edge smart agri-system technologies, including the pig performance NEDAP Prosense feed and weigh systems for individual pig data collection, allowing high-level insights into animal nutrition and performance. It is now estimated that feed costs represent over 70% of the cost of pig production (AHDB, 2022). Using pig performance feed systems to implement precision feeding may help to reduce the cost of feeding whilst reducing nutrient output and thus impacts on the environment. &nbsp;</p> <p>The objective of this project is to formulate diets that nearer meet the requirements of finisher pigs, on a smaller group or individual basis, in order to maximise performance, reduce the cost of feeding and reduce nutrient output. The student will gain hands on experience of pig production, as well as developing skills in designing experimental research trials, diet formulation, nutrient digestibility analysis, and advanced statistical analysis and interpretation of results.&nbsp;</p> <h5>References:</h5> <p>AHDB. 2022. Pork cost of production<br /> Hauschild, L.; Pomar, C.; Lovatto, P. A. 2010. Systematic comparison of the empirical and factorial methods used to estimate the nutrient requirements of growing pigs. Animal, 4:5,714&ndash;723.</p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>To apply for this project opportunity applicants should complete an <a href="">online application form</a> and attach the following documentation to support their application.&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>a full academic CV</li> <li>degree certificate and transcripts of marks</li> <li>Evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (if applicable)</li> </ul> <p>To help us identify that you are applying for this project please ensure you provide the following information on your application form;</p> <ul> <li>Select PhD in Biological Sciences as your programme of study</li> <li>Give the full project title and name the supervisors listed in this advert</li> </ul> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to this scholarship in the School of Biology should normally have an Undergraduate degree of 2:1 or above (or international equivalent) in a relevant subject area. A Master&rsquo;s degree is desirable, but not essential. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Admissions Team prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>This project is open to applicants who have the funding to support their own studies or who have a sponsor who will cover these costs.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For information about the application process please contact the Faculty Admissions Team:</p> <p>e: <a href=""></a></p>