Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific Challenge: Due to the increasing demand for animal derived food and the mounting pressure over land use, further intensification and expansion of animal production is expected. Development of the livestock sector at EU and global level is challenging as it puts pressure on the environment, human health and the welfare of animals within the systems. Climate change is an additional pressure to the sustainability (e.g. productivity, health) of livestock systems. Increasing efficiency is required, while decreasing the environmental footprint and increasing quality, e.g. nutritional value. Livestock farming systems generate valuable products for human consumption including some from resources that cannot otherwise be converted into food (e.g. grass-based systems). They support the development of rural communities. Extensive livestock systems can contribute to the management and maintenance of ecosystems and may increase biodiversity.

Means to improve sustainability and productivity of terrestrial livestock systems need to be sought through breeding, nutrition and health. New phenotypes linked to sustainable animal productivity could be developed and integrated into breeding schemes. Precision feeding could increase production efficiency by adapting accurately the needs and the delivery of feed to individual animals. The development of new or alternative feeds, in particular as protein sources, has the potential to minimise reliance on imports and increase European self-sufficiency. Livestock diseases reduce the efficiency of animal production and they have a major impact in terms of economic costs and animal welfare. Vaccination can be an efficient way to control diseases and to reduce the use of antimicrobials. Deeper knowledge is required to develop safer, cheaper, novel, multivalent and more efficient vaccines.

Farming systems need to be (re)designed in a holistic manner to best reconcile the various demands concerning productivity, sustainability and societal values, for now and the future.

Scope: Proposals should address one of the following issue (A):

A. [2014] Genetics and nutrition and alternative feed sources for terrestrial livestock production

Proposals should address the diversity of production types. New traits linked to feed conversion efficiency and to sustainability (e.g. robustness) should be investigated and phenotypes should be used for modelling biological functions and develop predictive approaches of performances. Precision feeding including new management systems should be developed in order to fulfil the need of individual animals, taking into account their physiological, health and welfare status, and their genetic make-up. Activities should also investigate diversifying feed sources, in particular as protein inputs, including industry by-products, organic waste and alternative crops, and better use of local resources (e.g. pastures and forage crops). The potential of the new technologies, including their influence on food quality should be assessed. Demonstration activities of the most promising solutions should be organised. Involvement of the livestock industry is expected. This call also involves socio-economic aspects as new business models and management systems are needed for specific production systems. In line with the objectives of the EU strategy for international cooperation in research and innovation and in particular with the implementation of the EU-China dialogue, proposals are encouraged to include third country participants, especially those established in China[1]. Proposals should fall under the concept of 'multi-actor approach'[2].

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the range of EUR 7–9 million for (A) would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: Proposals should show how some, or all, of the following impacts will be achieved:

·         New efficiency traits to be incorporated into breeding schemes of various farm species enabling selection of animals more adapted to environmental changes

·         Make Europe frontrunner in re-use of by-products and protein rich resources for feed

·         Minimize risk to public health by preventing and controlling animal diseases and reducing the use of antibiotics in the “One health” perspective

·         Increased level of animal welfare

·         Increased efficiency and profitability of animal agriculture

·         Improved overall sustainability and innovative capacity of the livestock sector

·         Increased societal acceptance

Type of action: Research and innovation actions


[1] This is without prejudice to the general rules on the funding of legal entities from third-countries, as set in part A of the annex to the work programme.

[2] See definition of 'multi-actor approach' in footnote 1 in the introduction of this Work Programme part.

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