Research Project Seminar - November 2020

2016 Co-funded Call on research for a sustainable animal production sector in Europe

It was a pleasure to introduce the 106 attendees on 17th November 2020 to the latest results of the SusAn Cofunded projects. Many thanks to our great coordinators and the fantastic audience for a fruitful discussion.

The coordinators demonstrated successful transnational research that is performed by the 14 projects which are funded via ERA-NET SusAn’s  co-funded call. From mid-2017 onwards, 14 research consortia with more than 100 researchers from over 20 countries started their work to achieve new insights for the field of sustainable animal production.


We started this seminar with a welcome of the ERA-Net SusAn Coordinator, who handed over to  Jean-Charles Cavitte from DG Agriculture and Rural Development, who presented an Update on F2F strategy and Horizon Europe. Focusses on Cluster 6, Intervention Area 3 Agriculture, Forestry & Rural Areas.

After this very informative presentation, the Coordinators of the Co-funded projects presented their projects.

During this SusAn virtual project Seminar, we divided the 14 projects in three groups.

In the three sessions we showed short videos of each project, that were created in collaboration with the coordinator and ILVO.

In addition to the video, each project coordinator gave a five minutes presentation in which they focused on the results of the project and also answered the question: “Which future research needs do you see at the end of your project that would significantly contribute to more sustainable animal production systems?”

Each session was followed by a 15 min time for the audience to ask questions.

Please find below the download link to the presentations of each project and the recordings of each session. Feel free to share them with your community.

Presentation of Jean-Charles Cavitte

Presentations and Videos of the research projects:

·      ANIMALFUTURE - video

·      BPRACTICES - video

·      EcoLamb - video

·      FREEWALK - video

·      PEGaSus - video

·      PigSys - video

·      ReDiverse - video

·      SusCatt - video

·      SusPig - video

·      SuSPigSys - video

·      SusSheP - video

·      SuSi - video

·      SUSTAINBEEF - video

·      SusTradeOff - video


Questions during the different Q&A sessions:

Questions to Jean-Charles Cavitte:

  • What is your, and the COMs, view on the UN Food Summit 2021 track 1 dealing with 'sustainable diets' that seems to be very focused on promoting vegetarian, and even vegan, diets?
  • What is the basis for stating that 60-70% of EU soils are unhealthy?


Questions projects


  • We saw pigs in the video. Which role does or could they play in this system?
  • Was the significantly higher milk somatic cell count also relevant for agric practice?
  • What is the mix% of manure in the bedding system and loss of nitrogen and carbon of the atmosphere
  • Why did the Methan emissions in freewalksystems increased? Due to the bedding?
  • What are the recommendations for the bedding/litter management in FREEWALK systems?
  • Does a drained floor (or with slope) is needed?


  • How long is "shorter" versus "longer" contracts (regarding conservation) for breeders?
  • Has the impact of this project changed the way of working in the breeding companies and farmers from now on?
  • REDIVERSE Will, you be able in the end to find the optimal combination to make a breed that is competitive in ways of production and is more sustainable/resistant to future challenges (eg climate change)?


  • How do farmers deal with the fact that subsidies are more relevant for profit than zootechnical choices?
  • Why has the meat resulting from the cross breeds better fatty acid profile that the one from pure breeds?


  • How did you choose the relevant sustainability indicators considered in your project?
  • How have you transferred the projects results to your main stakeholders, the farmers?


  • Can you give examples of the one or two top innovative practices that (would) contribute to sustainable honey production?
  • Are your guidelines/ tracing app to be used by all kind of bee keepers? Or is some follow up needed to really enroll this to all beekeepers?
  • BPRACTICES You have elaborated and disseminated very good beekeeping practices. Are you thinking of evaluating the impact of those guidelines?


  • Did you also look at present recommended nutritional requirements for animals? Can you confirm the present recommendations?
  • If you should advise policymakers who wish to address the P surplus, what would you address as low hanging fruits/easy solutions? And what would be the more challenging ones but necessary to tackle/take?
  • You indicated that dietary strategies can be used to reduce P excretion? Does this also effect other excretions such as N (which are also of importance) in a positive or negative way?


  • What does AI contribute in the Project?
  • What will be the costs for a farmer to start using this kind of systems? Need the different systems you presented to have the needed information to change your management for more sustainable pig production?
  • When meat quality was pos. affected, how was that explained (more fat in the meat?)? SusAn
  • You tested a lot of local feed sources and indicate that certain sources have benefits on several levels, would it be possible by the end of your project to give specific advice to farmers based on these findings (eg to have a niche product?)? Or is more research needed?
  • You mentioned that the creation of a new pig breed is necessary in order to evolve into a sustainable pig production system for the future, in order to adapt to changes and to local feed intake.


  • You tested a lot of local feed sources and indicate that certain sources have benefits on several levels, would it be possible by the end of your project to give specific advise to farmers based on these findings (eg to have a niche product?)? Or is more research needed?
  • You had partners from USA and Australia next to European partners. Did you also include cases from these countries? What are the mean differences in the level of sustainability between these?
  • You mentioned that the creation of a new pig breed is necessary in order to evolve into a sustainable pig production system for the future, in order to adapt to changes and to local feed intake.
  • How does a sustainable pig production and consumption should look like to you?


  • In light of an expected circular food system where animals will be increasingly fed with low-opportunity cost biomass (e.g. high fibrous products, waste streams), how does 'Feed Efficiency' as one of the parameters in the economical/ sustainability scoring assessment take this into account?
  • What were the most important indicators to monitor in order to move to a more sustainable system?
  • Will this be a working app for farmers to use once the project is finished? And what kind of information do they need to feed the app?


  • What is currently the main factor preventing immunocastration from being implemented in practice?
  • Why is Consumer acceptance still a hurdle?
  • You also organised training schools (mainly for researchers?): how did this go? Would it be interesting to repeat this to farmers and other stakeholders such as policy and the meat sector?
  • The use of immuno castration seems very promising according to your findings. Consumer acceptance seems to be the only hurdle that still needs to be taken? Or am I mistaken? And what is still needed to achieve consumer acceptance, to your opinion?


  • Which factors can make lamb meat production innovative? What barriers for innovative lamb meat production did you find?
  • How could solutions look like in the conflict between species conservation (i.e. wolf populations) and extensive grazing animal husbandry?
  • Your results show that extensive farming is much better for a lot of reasons and more sustainable. How would you see the future of sheep farmers in a sustainable way? Is the capacity of extensive production sufficient to meet the meat demand or do you see the sustainable lamb meat production as a niche market?
  • How will all this information go to the lamb/sheep farmers?
  • Now that the project is complete, do you feeling that there are already opportunities that may provide a future market niche against competitive products from other global markets?  


  • What is your next step? You have found some very interesting new findings and it seems that you are close to a solution. Is more research needed or is this nearly ready to go to the market (by the end of the project)?
  • How did you experience the cooperation with the farmers? Are already some farmers that were not involved in this project working with the frozen semen


  • If selection for resilience requires more energy, isn't that a negative effect (higher feed Costs)?
  • Do you think that there is also a better immunes response to other illnesses? So that these findings might also have a positive effect on the use of antibiotics or other veterinary medicines?
  • How will you disseminate these trade-off models, decision tools as advice for farmers and breeders to contribute to improve health, welfare and reduce the environmental impact of livestock production
  • There are more difficulties in the chicken cases, but for the sheep cases, you have very promising results. Are there global findings that you think can be translated to other production animals such as cattle (eg. veal production) or pigs?


  • Can you name one or two main, significant, new findings of your project (e.g. correlations between indicators)? SusAn
  • You mentioned that you would raise awareness to policymakers in the movie. How did you address this or how are you going to do this?
  • The dashboard gives a nice overview of your project. AnimalFuture really succeed in combining the sources of data and looking at the different pillars of sustainability. Who will you promote the dashboard to and do you have perspectives for further development of the dashboard?
  • The results you gained (like the dashboard) has a lot of potential, but what is up next? What are you going to do to get this known in the field?