The Swedish Livestock Research Centre is an important facility for research and teaching. On an average ten projects are running daily at the research centre.
Read about some ongoing research projects at the Swedish Livestock Research Centre. For more projects, please see the Swedish version of this page.
Pig: Good leg quality in sows - better phenotypes for genetic and genomic selection
In addition to being painful for the affected animal, poor leg quality and lameness in sows is also linked to other welfare problems such as increased piglet mortality. The long-term goal of this project is to more efficiently identify sows with good leg strength and good movements, thereby improving the welfare of both sows and piglets.
We will focus on improved phenotypes and the development of a genetic test for leg health. A lame sow is likely to move less compared to a healthy sow. The activity level of sows will be measured automatically with so-called accelerometers. These record the frequency of position changes. This information will be validated against assessments of the sow's leg conformation. Pressure mat will be used to identify lame animals. Activity measured by data loggers and technicians' assessments conformation will be related to sow fertility and piglet survival.
We have probably identified a gene that controls inheritance of hind leg position in pigs. The project intends to verify these preliminary results via extended sampling and analysis. The purpose is to improve animal health by being able to identify animals that have a tendency for poor leg posture with a simple blood test.
Katja Nilsson, Katja.Nilsson@slu.se, tel. +4618674534
Anna Bergh, Anna.Bergh@slu.se, tel. +4618672152
Pig: Colostrum in sows
The study aims to investigate some physiological parameters, namely blood pressure and the level of antibody in colostrum in sows, and its impact on piglet mortality, and to evaluate a non-invasive method to measure sows' blood pressure at birth compared to blood pressure in different stages of gestation.
Anna Carlertz, email@example.com, +46739364230
Cattle: Smarter Electronic Systems for Animal Health Monitoring with Multisensor-assisted ML
The objective of the project is to, based on an innovative multi-sensor technology for image sensors, develop a robust easy-to-use system for monitoring animal health, which will ease livestock management and research, improve animal health, and reduce environmental impact.
Niclas Högberg, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +4618672381
Ulf Emanuelson, email@example.com, tel. +4618671826
Cattle: Evaluation of vaccines against bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV)
The aim of this project is to evaluate vaccines against bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV) in young calves with maternally-derived antibodies. These antibodies originate from the first milk of the mother and can protect the calf against disease by binding to pathogens. However, the same antibodies can additionally bind to vaccines and will thereby inhibit the effect of vaccination in young calves. Bovine RSV is very contagious and causes annual outbreaks of respiratory disease in Swedish cattle. A closely related virus, the human RSV, can likewise cause serious disease in humans, mainly in infants and elderly.
While vaccines against BRSV exist for cattle, no vaccine against HRSV is available for humans. This is due to adverse effects of earlier vaccines, a weak immune system in infants and the interference with maternally-derived antibodies. However, a break-through recently occurred in RS-vaccinology. A viral protein (the fusion protein) was stabilised in a form (Pre-F) that induces strong immune responses in humans and better responses than a commercial vaccine in calves with maternal antibodies. In contrast to when using commercial vaccines, the usage of Pre-F enables disease monitoring based on serology, which currently is carried out on a voluntary basis in Sweden. With a Pre-F-based vaccine, infected animals can be differentiated from those non-infected but vaccinated, which allows tracking the virus among herds, with the possibility to warn nearby counties. Within the project, the immune response to candidate vaccines based on different parts of PreF will be evaluated in calves and the calves that will stay in the herd will be followed up throughout their life by blood sampling. If a natural BRSV-infection occurs in the herd during the lifespan of the animals, the clinical and virological protection of the vaccines will be evaluated.
Jean Francois Valarcher, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel., +4618671351.
Other participants in the project
Sara Hägglund, email@example.com, tel., +4618671891.