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Plant and Animal Health

Plant and Animal Health

SEFARI provides the research needed to improve the efficiency and resilience of Scotland’s food production systems whilst protecting the environment and our rural communities. SEFARI works on improving our crop production systems, and reducing the impacts of plant disease. For livestock, work on animal characteristics and health and welfare leads to more efficient livestock production, which in turn reduces waste, lowers greenhouse gas emissions and improves global food security.

Sector Contact

Case Studies

9 Sep 2021

Potato tuber development and quality: Why do some potato varieties sprout more than others?

Potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) is one of the world's most economically important food crops and holds major significance for future food security.

31 Aug 2021

High and dry - Drought resilience in alpine vegetation and soils

The alpine zone supports some of our most natural habitats and provides ecosystem services including carbon storage, nutrient cycling and water quality.

29 Jul 2021

Ecosystem resilience – Racomitrium heath

Racomitrium heath is a moss-dominated alpine habitat which is widespread and covers extensive areas in oceanic alpine regions. It is important for the rare bird species that it supports, and the ecosystem services it provides, including carbon storage and regulation of water quality.

9 Jun 2021

Major weight loss in pregnant cows harms the development of their calves

Body condition scoring is a rapid way to assess fat coverage of livestock. In cattle it is scored on a 1 (lean) to 5 (obese) scale. Scottish beef cows typically gain body condition when grazing and lose some of this condition during the winter before calving in the spring. 

20 May 2021

Ecological Resilience – woodlands and tree pests/pathogens

Risk assessments of plant pests/pathogens rarely account for potential impacts on biodiversity associated with the affected host.

18 Jan 2021

Liver fluke risk and Agri-environment Schemes: a Tale of Toads, Snails and Wetland Birds

In this case study, we describe field investigations of liver fluke risk to livestock associated with grazing under two different agri-environmental schemes and discuss best practice for conservation grazing and sustainable fluke control.

14 Jan 2021

New crop protection targets to control late blight

Control of plant diseases such as potato late blight relies heavily on the use of crop protection products such as fungicides.

16 Dec 2020

Integrated Pest Management: How widely have these management practices been adopted?

Arable crops like wheat and barley, are frequently under attack from diseases, weeds, insects and slugs. These lead to reductions in yield and affect the profitability of farms and the price of produce. To protect crops there is a heavy reliance on pesticides.

26 Nov 2020

Developing a"Genetic Scorecard": A World-first for Scotland

The following case study summarises a SEFARI Think Tank involving the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and Scottish Natural Heritage.

30 Oct 2020

Antimicrobial resistance: bringing Scottish expertise together to find the solutions

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global, immediate and ongoing concern to human health.

21 Oct 2020

The search for crop pathogens Achilles heels

Plant pathogens trigger changes in host plants that allow them to cause disease.  Understanding which molecules pathogens use to do this (termed effectors), how they allow infection to take place, and how they are detected by plants has important implications for our understanding of plant disease.  

6 Oct 2020

The impact of sustainable cropping on soil-borne diseases – a focus on Rhizoctonia solani AG3

The Centre for Sustainable Cropping (CSC) is a long-term experimental platform established to integrate all aspects of sustainability research on arable ecosystems. The CSC allows us to study crop management at a more integrated and system wide level and compare this to conventional crop husbandry practices.

11 Sep 2020

Approaches to reducing potato waste by improving home storage and minimising greening

Potato is the number one wasted household food by weight, estimated at over 700,000 tonnes and with a cost of £555M per annum in the UK. Nearly half of the fresh potatoes bought by UK householders are thrown away.

25 Aug 2020

Making Worms Squirm: Sustainable Worm Control in Lambs through Precision Livestock Farming

Electronic identification (EID) tags have been compulsory in UK sheep flocks since 2010, and a decade after their introduction, can still be a controversial topic.

10 Jun 2020

Nematodirus battus: Is it likely to spiral out of control?

Farming practices are evolving in response to intensification, diversification and climate change. As farm management has changed, pathogens of livestock have also adapted to optimise their reproduction and transmission opportunities.

14 May 2020

Pigs and Poultry Optimising Production

With support from the SEFARI Gateway Responsive Opportunity Fund, Moredun Research Institute (MRI) and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) jointly organized and hosted an

7 Feb 2020

Tail biting in pigs: developing a machine vision early warning system for farmers

Tail biting affects growing pigs in Scotland and around the world and has no simple solution. It begins in a sudden and unpredictable way, then spreads through a group.

4 Nov 2019

A Test is Best: A New Sheep Scab Blood Test Helps Control Disease on the Isle of Mull & Iona

Sheep scab is a highly contagious disease caused by infestation with the mite Psoroptes ovis. It is endemic in the UK, notifiable in Scotland and has significant economic and welfare impacts.

3 Jun 2019

Barbervax®: giving blood-sucking parasitic worms a taste of their own medicine

This case study is part of a series focusing on the importance of sustained funding for fundamental and strategic research. The first in this series summarises the research behind Barbervax®: a vaccine for the Barber’s Pole Worm, Haemonchus contortus.

6 Mar 2019

Climate Change and Parasitism – Breaking the Cycle

This case study will summarise ongoing research on Teladorsagia circumcincta, one of the most common and economically important endemic parasites to control in sheep in the UK.

Pages

Blog

12 Apr 2021 - 15:03

Why we need to consider the role of plants in the spread of zoonotic pathogens

Zoonotic pathogens are microorganisms transmitted by animals, which cause disease and illness in humans. Many of them are foodborne and are commonly associated with farmed animals, or less frequently with wildlife.

27 Mar 2021 - 11:43

Five SEFARI Research Farms - take a tour from your sofa

With the pandemic turning our lives upside down, the use of digital communication has accelerated overnight. Webinars, Teams meetings, Digital classrooms, Virtual brainstorming boards, to name but a few. They have all helped in keeping us connected from the safety of our own homes.

22 Mar 2021 - 11:19

Protecting water catchments from zoonotic Cryptosporidium parasites

The protozoan parasite Cryptosporidium is a significant cause of diarrhoeal disease in humans and animals in UK and many other countries across the world.

Events

2022

26 Apr

A3 SCOTLAND Conference

The focus of the conference is: Transition to net zero.

A3 Scotland 2022 is an inaugural not-for-profit conference for the Animal Health, Agritech and Aquaculture (AAA) sectors to encourage innovation, investment and collaboration.