Module:Advances in Livestock Nutrition

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Christopher Brough
  • Module Level

  • Module credits

  • Min study time

    150 hours
  • Contact hrs

    30 (Scheduled teaching - 22 and visits 8)

Module content

The livestock sector has been undergoing change at an unprecedented pace over the past few decades. Significant demand in the world’s most rapidly growing economies for food derived from animals has led to large increases in livestock production, supported by major technological innovations and structural changes in the sector. This module provides an exciting and excellent opportunity for those students with an interest in the production of farm animals to focus their studies on the associated application of nutrition science and technologies at the commercial level. The livestock sector in the UK and globally is undergoing rapid change and quickly becoming much more technology-based and an industry adopting innovative husbandry and feeding strategy methods. There is now more focus on applying precision to livestock production systems using a range of new technologies including so-called ‘smart’ and ‘intelligent’ farming practices in support of nutrition management decision making. The module is designed to equip students with the relevant practical, specialist and professional skills with underpinning knowledge and understanding.

Topic coverage within the module will include a focus on the animal factors, a knowledge of which is critically important in the implementation of effective practical feeding strategies. The distinguishing features of ruminant and non-ruminant species digestive physiology linked to the nature and composition of diets fed. Updates on research in the areas of genotype/nutrition and disease/nutrition interactions will also be considered.

Factors above will be deliberately related to commercial livestock production systems and practice.

Complementary focus on feed factors will provide a backdrop to the feed manufacturing industry, coverage will also include feed quality and safety issues, recent scientific developments in the nutritional (nutrient) characterisation of individual feeds, future sustainability of feed resources and evaluation of alternatives, topical issue of feed supplementation in support of enhanced growth and productivity performance in livestock, feed use and environmental impacts.

Animal and feed factors to be combined in the consideration of modern feeding systems with focus on the latest science and research endeavours which inform greater precision in diet formulation procedures. Feed monitoring use and efficiency measurements in pursuit of reduced cost of production and a more sound livestock business footing. 

Module outcomes

To achieve credit for this module, students must be able to:

  • Assess and critically discuss both the positive and negative impacts that modern commercial livestock nutrition has on animal and human welfare, food product quality and safety, and the wider environment.
  • Critically review recent scientific evidence for improvement in the understanding of animal physiological, genetic and disease factors affecting the efficiency of nutrient utilisation.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth comprehension of the nutrient characterisation of animal feeds and research efforts to explore more novel and sustainable feed commodity resources.   
  • Create a hypothetical but realistic feeding strategy for farm livestock employing the methodology of modern formulation technique, and analytically evaluate existing diet formulation examples.


Assessment Description Weighting
First Sit Coursework1 - Diet formulation exercise - 40% / Examination - 3 hour unseen- 60% 100%
Referral (capped at 40%) Coursework1 - Diet formulation exercise - 40% / Examination - 3 hour unseen- 60% 100%

Assessments may differ in 2021/22 due to adjustments for Covid-19. Please check Gateway for the latest regulations.