Study Abroad and Exchanges



ACE2064 : Sustainable Livestock Systems

Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 5.0


The aim of the module is to provide an understanding of dairy, beef, sheep, pig and poultry sectors in the UK in terms of scale, industry structure, production systems used and management factors influencing the efficiency of production. Students will obtain an understanding of the biological and economic inter-relationships underpinning livestock production, and how challenges to sustainability are being addressed in each particular livestock system.

Outline Of Syllabus

Importance of livestock systems to UK agriculture
For each of the dairy, beef, sheep, pig and poultry sectors, students will be given a description of the scale of production, industry structure, distribution of holdings within the UK and a comparison to EU/Global sectors

Dairy systems
Products, quality and markets
Production cycles including reproduction, calving and culling
Systems and Challenges to sustainability

Beef systems
Products, quality and markets
Systems of production - breeding herds and finishing options
Challenges to sustainability

Sheep systems
Products, quality and markets
Industry structure and integration
Systems - uplands and lowlands
Challenges to sustainability

Pig systems
Dry sow and service management
Farrowing sows and piglets
Weaner management and finishing systems
Addressing sustainability

Poultry systems
Egg laying - output, management, welfare and sustainability of production systems
Meat birds - broiler production and developments to address global food security

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion15:305:30Reading and preparation for debate
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion15:305:30Preparation for oral examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion12:002:00Semester 2 examination
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion220:3011:00Revision for Semester 2 examination
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture221:0022:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops13:003:00Debate on intensive livestock systems
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesFieldwork34:0012:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study114:0014:00Research and reading to extend knowledge beyond the taught materials
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study125:0025:00Writing up lecture and field visits notes
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will introduce the key topics and describe the main production systems used. The seminar on intensive animal production will explore some of the issues facing pig and poultry production in particular, whilst through a series of farm visits, students will gain a practical understanding of the husbandry systems used in sustainable livestock systems.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination1202A70Includes both short answer questions and an essay choice.
Oral Examination92M15The short oral examination tests students' individual knowledge of current issues and husbandry in ruminant livestock production.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt2M15Debate, in groups, about issues facing intensive pig and poultry production.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam assesses knowledge acquisition on the subject of livestock systems. The debate assesses students ability to work in a team and brainstorm the challenge of feeding an increasing world population, to marshal their thoughts and ideas onto a flipchart and then to take part in an informal debate with peers who are tasked with presenting a different perspective. Students are assessed on their ability to communicate a specified stakeholder view to their peers. Individual students' knowledge and communication is also assessed by means of the oral examination (9 mins duration) on aspects of ruminant livestock production.

Reading Lists