AFBI Hillsborough installs UK’s first precision feeding system for sheep


In the United Kingdom, the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute installed the UK’s first electronic feed and water intake monitoring system for sheep at their research farm in Hillsborough. This new system puts AFBI Hillsborough at the forefront of sheep research in the UK and expands AFBI’s capability and expertise to conduct research into sheep nutrition and genetics.

The system identifies each animal by its EID tag and electronically records feed intake, including feeding time, intervals between feeds and consumption at each feeding visit. The system comprises 16 forage feed boxes, 2 concentrate feeders and 4 automated drinkers.  AFBI’s integrated system will also record the intake of fresh grass and silage and water consumption.

This new system will be used to examine the impact of factors such as forage type and quality, supplement type and modified management practices, while also facilitating investigation of interactions between nutrition, genetics and the immune system.