The Institute of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Sciences performs high-level modern teaching and R&D activities in the field of animal nutrition, animal production, including aquaculture, animal genetics and breeding, reproductive biology, biotechnology, animal health, food hygiene, food technology, and other subject areas related to animal science and veterinary medicine. Research conducted involves almost all aspects of the “from farm to fork” production and processing chain of animal products.
Particularly involved with the COST action are the departments of Nutrition and Animal Products Quality, Food Science and Hygiene, Animal Health and the Environment and Genetics and Animal Breeding. In these departments, in addition to a range of undergraduate students, postgraduate programmes, include 15 PhD students.
Our specialisms include: ruminant and monogastric animal nutrition and physiology; farm animal health, behaviour and welfare; dairy product quality, including milk composition, quality, and chemistry, feed analysis and quality; sheep and pig production; food hygiene and quality and organic dairy farming. Facilities available are: metabolism lab, feed analysis lab, milk quality lab, food hygiene lab and genetics lab.
We have a new experimental dairy unit with full access for research purposes. This is a cubicle housing unit for 120 cows, and additional housing facilities for heifers and, separately, for beef animals. We have robotic milking facilities (for 60 cows) in addition to a milking parlour (also designed for 60 cows). Data from both milking facilities are integrated. The milking parlour includes a facility for accurately measuring feed intakesand for fistulated cows; we can also measure water intakes and bodyweights.
Other facilities include a viewing platform to observe cows´ behaviour, a laboratory for sample preparation and simple on-site analyses, and a teaching room with internet access.
Recent financed research projects have included:
- Energy balance and fertility
- Genetic polymorphism and milk quality
- Nutrition and milk quality
- Automatic assessment of welfare and health in precision farming
- Natural antioxidants in food
- Biological and chemical hazards in the food chain
Cooperation with enterprises
We are partners in a Bio-competence Centre of Healthy Dairy Products, which includes academics (ourselves and Tartu University), and private companies in the dairy industry. We are working on designing milk constituents, through nutrition, to meet health and consumer demands for functional foods. Of particular interest are the spectrum of polyunsaturated fatty acids. and novel silage inoculants for legumes.
Scientists involved in COST Action Feed for Health: David Arney and Katri Ling