A red meat body is to fund a major piece of research which will help the Welsh lamb and beef sectors in their bid to lead the world in terms of sustainable farming.
Applications are now open for three fully-funded PhD scholarships as part of the Welsh government's European Social Fund’s KESS 2 programme.
The scheme enables universities and industries to collaborate in supporting research of strategic significance for vital economic sectors.
The three researchers will focus on ‘Meeting environmental targets while maintaining profitability for the beef and sheep sectors of Wales’, ‘Strategies for meeting targets for ammonia emissions and nitrate leaching reduction for Welsh beef and sheep farms’, and ‘Strategies to reach zero carbon sheep and beef production on Welsh farms’.
The same funding source will also support a PhD studentship at Bangor on ‘Determining the potential for precision grazing to improve the resilience of livestock production systems.’
Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC), which will help fund the research, has already launched a programme to make consumers aware of the low environmental impact of sheep and beef production in Wales.
The body said the new research by Bangor University would help to drive further improvements for the sector.
HCC’s industry development manager, John Richards explained: “Consumers want to know that the meat they buy is farmed to high standards – in terms of animal welfare and traceability, and increasingly in terms of environmental sustainability.
“Wales already has a positive message, with sheep and cattle here being overwhelmingly reared in free-range, non-intensive systems which rely on natural grass and water, producing fewer emissions than many other farming systems around the globe.”
He added: “International research such as the IPCC report on global land use identify an important role for sustainable livestock farming as part of the answer to climate change and food security.
“The future of Welsh farming depends on the sector being able to convey to the public that we already have an excellent good story to tell, and demonstrate that we’re doing everything to reduce emissions even further, and farm in the most environmentally-responsible way.”
Bangor University will be working with HCC over the next 3-4 years through the KESS 2 programme.
Applications for the three PhD scholarships are open until 12 noon on 20 January 2020.