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Development of integrated livestock breeding and management strategies to improve animal health, product quality and performance in European organic and ‘low input’ milk, meat and egg production (LowInputBreeds)
Start date: 01 May 2009, End date: 30 Apr 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The proposed integrating project LOWINPUTBREEDS aims to develop integrated LIVESTOCK BREEDING and MANAGEMENT strategies to improve ANIMAL HEALTH, product QUALITY and PERFORMANCE in European organic and ‘low input’ milk, meat and egg production through research, dissemination and training activities. The consortium includes 11 academic centres of excellence and 6 genetics/breeding companies (4 SMEs) in 11 European, 2 ICPC and 2 industrialised third countries. The proposed project has 4 main Science and Technology OBJECTIVES: 1. To DEVELOP and evaluate INNOVATIVE BREEDING CONCEPTS, including (a) genome wide and (b) marker assisted selection, and (c) cross-, (d) ‘flower’- and (e) farmer participatory breeding strategies, which will deliver genotypes with ‘robustness’ and quality traits required under ‘low input’ conditions. The project will focus on 5 LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION SYSTEMS (dairy cows, dairy and meat sheep, pigs and laying hens) and design SPECIES-SPECIFIC BREEDING STRATEGIES for different macroclimatic regions in Europe. 2. To INTEGRATE the use of IMPROVED GENOTYPES with INNOVATIVE MANAGEMENT approaches including improved diets, feeding regimes and rearing systems. This will focus on issues (e.g. mastitis and parasite control, animal welfare problems) where breeding or management innovations alone are unlikely to provide satisfactory solutions. 3. To IDENTIFY potential ECONOMIC, ENVIRONMENTAL, GENETIC DIVERSITY and ETHICAL IMPACTS of project deliverables to ensure they conform to different societal priorities and consumer demands/expectations and are acceptable to producers. 4. To ESTABLISH an efficient TRAINING and DISSEMINATION programme aimed at rapid exploitation and application of project deliverables by the organic and ‘low input’ livestock industry.
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