- Animal Breeding, Genetics and Reproduction
Animal breeding, genetics and reproduction have changed significantly over the past decades. Genetic improvement and preservation of biodiversity is now largely based on the use of modern technologies in the field of reproduction and molecular genetics. Ongoing Development in computer and information technology has a major impact on data collection, genetic evaluation procedures and enables the introduction of new sources of information into the prediction of breeding value. The aim of the section is to review current aspects related to genetic improvement programs in livestock production with optimal exploitation of the reproductive potential of breeding animals. The focus is on challenges, opportunities and innovations related to the use of modern technologies of reproduction, genetics, genomics and informatics to solve current and future problems facing breeding of highly productive animals and preservation of reproductive material of rare and autochthonous breeds.
2. Animal Nutrition and Feed Technology
Animal nutrition is a constantly topical topic. It is known that nutrition occupies a significant part of the costs in modern animal production, so even relatively small savings can affect the productivity of the entire production. The use of feed additives, as well as the optimization of animal protein and energy needs, can be of critical importance for productivity. Also, the quality of animal feed is very important, the presence of certain residues or contaminants can lead to entry into the human food chain and consequently affect humans.Alternative sources of energy and protein are something that will be given special attention in the coming period, due to the limited resources of arable land and the projected increase in the population. FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) points out that by 2050 food production will have to increase by 70%. Providing humanity with sufficient amounts of animal protein represents an ever greater challenge for animal husbandry and agriculture in general, because the share of animal nutrition in the costs of livestock production is constantly increasing. Efficient utilization of arable land as well as feed by animals in all branches of animal husbandry are imperative for successful management of the same.
New technologies in the processing of nutrients and the production of food for animal nutrition contribute to the production of higher quality animal feed and more efficient use of the used raw materials..Mass breeding of insects and the production of food from them can represent a possible solution to the problem of increasing prices of soybeans and fishmeal, but also a way to more efficiently use limited resources. Developed European countries increasingly attach importance to the mass production of insects, which they see as a potential solution to some of the aforementioned problems.
3. Animal Health & Welfare and Farm Biosecurity
The global increase in demand for animal protein entails more geographically concentrated and intensive animal production. The high density of animal production sites and their related contact structures are drivers for infectious animal diseases responsible for morbidity, mortality, and economic losses worldwide.
Welfare is a reflection of how an animal feels about its environment. The underlying theme of animal welfare is to enhance the physical and mental health of animals. Despite improvements in livestock farming techniques over the years, the welfare of farm animals remains a major concern. The major welfare concerns in the livestock industry relate to the rearing and management of dairy calves, the rearing of sows, the housing of layer chickens in battery cages and the restriction of feed in broiler parent stock. Good animal production is a basis for promoting the welfare of animals.
Biosecurity is one of the essential components of the One Health concept. One Health is an approach that recognizes that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment. Based on these facts, the aim of the section is to review current aspects and ways how to prevent infections and their spread to farmed animals, humans, and the environment (including wildlife and plant species). Simultaneously, by safeguarding health and well-being, how to curtail the impact of infectious diseases on the environment, the economy, and society in general.
4. Wildlife & Game Management and Aquaculture
Within the Wildlife and Game management section, the focus will be on research results related to sustainable game management and wildlife conservation. The consequences of climate change are already increasingly visible and have a negative impact on wildlife, is there time for adaptation? Intensive agricultural production uses ever faster wheels, ever wider grips of connected machinery, how much prevention is there in the preservation of game offspring. What will happen when drones and robots take over the cultivation of fields? Will the peace and quiet, which are necessary for the survival of wildlife & game, ever be part of the agro biotope? Pesticides and other pollutants, i.e. their residues in the food chain are present and warn us as another negative factor of human activity. Monocultures in the fields are getting bigger and bigger where the plantations of industrial crops dominate, therefore the sudden loss of shelter and food is more and more dangerous for autochthonous game species that are leaving their habitat. Are there enough green corridors, which are oases in the sea of arable land? Harvest stress in interaction with climate change has reached epidemic proportions in the agro biotope. Monitoring, as one of the indispensable methods that is most often used, points to all that. Crop damage and wildlife damage are a constant challenge in human-wildlife conflict. While damage to game from traffic, i.e. damage caused to game by traffic, indicates insufficient involvement of the local community and users of hunting grounds and innovative solutions in prevention. Excuses for the overpriced construction of game crossings over highways are an endemic problem. How much we are threatened by new diseases in game, for example atypical swine fever. We should not leave out new non-native species that appear in hunting grounds and put pressure on native game, pushing them into the population bottleneck. Game hunting, which is equated with poaching and smuggling, is under increasing pressure from the public. Therefore, better legal regulations and better coordination of institutions with hunting associations and the chamber are needed.
In the past few decades, aquaculture has been one of the fastest growing sectors in agriculture. It is unequivocally agreed that global aquaculture production will continue to increase, especially in developing countries. Innovations, including knowledge transfer and adoptions from agriculture, leading to productivity growth and lower production costs are the main drivers for this process. Therefore, within the Aquaculture part of section, the focus will be on research results related to sustainable aquaculture systems (incl. RAS) as well as nutrition and feeding technologies, which will play an essential role in the sustained development of future aquaculture. Simultaneously, sustained development of aquaculture, however, must take into account and ensure that the needs of competing users are met, and that environmental integrity is protected.
5. Rural Development, Organization and Economic of Livestock Production
Significant changes have taken place in the rural areas of Serbia in recent decades. Deagrarianization and modernization of the sector leads to different effects, both on plant and animal production. The depopulation of rural areas was reflected in the change in the structure of production and the business concept of farms. In this sense, the application of modern agrotechnical measures, equipment and information technologies is increasingly present. Serbian agriculture is included in international markets and exposed to competition, both in terms of imports and exports. In the context of rural development, the multifunctionality of agriculture as an activity gains even more importance, especially the sector of animal production that requires long-term investments, a constantly present workforce, connection with plant production, efficient organization of the farm and training of the workforce. In this sense, animal husbandry is faced with a great challenge to create high quality products at competitive prices.
The aim of the section is to review the trends and changes in the animal production sector, from the wider aspect of rural development, the devitalization of rural areas, the possibility of diversifying activities and income on farms with animal production, but also the economic and market aspects in animal production that affect the possibilities of successful modernization and application of innovative technologies.
6. Organic and Alternative Livestock Production
Organic systems are designed to achieve a balanced relationship between the components of soil, plants, and animals. In contrast to conventional livestock production, organic livestock farming is defined by basic guidelines. The IFOAM Basic Standards state that one of the basic principles of organic agriculture is “to give all livestock conditions of life with due consideration for the basic aspects of their innate behavior. Based on production guidelines, the aim of the section is to review current aspects and state of organic livestock farming related to environmentally friendly production, sustaining animals in good health, realizing high animal welfare standards, and producing products of high quality. By striving for these goals, organic livestock farming meets the demands of an increasing number of consumers who are critical of conventional production methods.Broadly defined, alternative livestock can be any non-traditional animal raised on your farm or property. As part of the selection, it is possible to answer questions about how difficult it is to start alternative production. That depends on several factors including what type of animals you choose, your background and experience, the acreage and facilities you have, and your climate. Facilities and building materials are important for any livestock operation but can be especially challenging for alternative livestock enterprises. Some alternative livestock requires special fencing or handling facilities, ostriches for example drink water by scooping it so they will need special waterers.
7. Quality and Safety of Animal Products
The quality of animal products is very important for consumers. It is primarily influenced by the genotype, diet and way of keeping the animals. It is necessary that animal products have an appropriate nutritional composition, as well as sensory characteristics. Today, the quality of animal products from different husbandry systems, including organic production, is particularly relevant. In addition to quality, animal products are also of crucial importance for their health. Supplying consumers with food that does not contain microbiological, chemical or any other contaminants is the basic principle of the program of safe food production and population health protection. Many risks that can have a detrimental effect on human health are related to food. Uncontrolled application of agricultural chemicals, environmental pollution, unauthorized use of additives, hormones and antibiotics, microbiological risks and poor handling of food in the food chain can significantly contribute to the emergence of potential hazards to human health.
Good quality of raw milk is a necessary prerequisite for the production of a quality and health-safe milk product, with the desired composition, sensory characteristics and appropriate shelf life. Good quality of raw milk implies: an adequate number of microorganisms and somatic cells, a prescribed minimum content of milk fat and protein, that it does not contain antibiotics and chemical residues. Monitoring the quality of milk is important for the correct assessment of productivity and successful selection of milk cows, as well as a measure of the effect of applied zootechnical measures.
Varying the composition and properties of milk visibly affects the mode of certain technological operations in the processing and processing of milk, which is reflected in the composition, properties, quality and performance of milk products.