Activity report 2007 ILVO. Activity report. Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research

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1 Activity report 2007 ILVO Activity report Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research 2007

2 Flemish government Responsible publisher Prof. dr. ir. Erik Van Bockstaele Coordination Photographs Lay-out Translation Prof. dr. ir. Johan Van Waes, Nancy De Vooght, Karin Van Peteghem ILVO Nancy De Vooght Frank Lunn How to order by by telephone +32 (0) by mail Burg. Van Gansberghelaan 96, B-9820 Merelbeke mention Activity Report 2007

3 Table of contents Introduction 9 1. Management and Units Management Communication IT Service Environment and Welfare Management control and finance Research ILVO Personnel department Animal Sciences Functional Animal Nutrition Animal husbandry and welfare Fisheries 1.3. Social Sciences 1.4. Plant Sciences Applied Genetics and Breeding Crop Protection Crop Husbandry and Environment Growth and Development Business Unit and Services Technology & Food Product Quality and Innovation Food Safety Agricultural Engineering Business Unit and Services Important research results Animal Sciences Concentrate replacers for dairy cattle Research for intestine-active alternatives to antimicrobial feed additives in broiler chickens Functional nutrition of poultry with focus on phosphorus, vitamin D 3 and ω-3 fatty acids Effect of an energy restriction in double-muscled cows on feed efficiency Piglet weaning problems: the effect of weaning weight and intermittent suckling Group housing of sows Is there a way out for the beam trawler fleet with rising fuel prices? Fishing effort related to a biological value of the Belgian North Sea Social Sciences Payments Entitlements: towards full decoupling and flat rate? 56 5

4 Table of contents Towards a better diagnosis of economic and environmental performances of pig finishing farms Information and Communication Technology (ICT) adoption in Flemish horticulture Plant Sciences Breeding wheat cultivars resistant to Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) for Belgium Molecular genetic research in azalea promotes a quality improvement in the end product Breeding for a better grass quality Strawberry fruit rot caused by Colletotrichum acutatum Willows with the watermark disease in an agricultural environment Identification of the root-lesion nematodes Pratylenchus penetrans and P. crenatus in one single PCR test Classification of cereal grains and seeds of ryegrasses using image analysis NIRS: a fast technique for soil analyses Technology & Food Diversity, origin and characterisation of psychrotrophic pseudomonads and their heat-resistant spoilage enzymes in raw or heat-treated milk Effect of a changed milk fat composition on the quality and processability of milk Validation of new rapid tests for screening of ß-lactam residues in milk at farm level Molecularly Imprinted Polymers (MIPs) as alternative clean-up procedure for food matrices for the detection of contaminants Controlling the contamination of chicken carcasses with thermotolerant Campylobacter Influence of foodstuffs on the expression of virulence genes of Listeria monocytogenes Fertiliser street for field vegetable production Measuring tool for a quick determination of the average teat dimensions on dairy farms Improved spray application techniques in ornamental plants Extra highlighted Excretion of nitrogen and phosphorus by cattle, pigs, poultry and rabbits Fluctuating asymmetry (FA): an innovative indicator of animal welfare Aquaculture in Flanders Community of Practice - Farming for Health Genetic control of the synthesis of bioactive prenylflavonoids in hops (Humulus lupulus L.) Development of a new Virology laboratory in the research unit of Crop Protection The cultivation of clover and lucerne in Flanders Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA in pig farming New research themes at ILVO-T&V Extension of the microbiological research at T&V Moulds and noroviruses Fish and fisheries products Extension of the chemical research at T&V Detection of allergens Detection of mycotoxins ILVO-Agricultural Engineering and KAHO St. Lieven harvest Chamomile for Loca Labora 111 6

5 Table of contents 4. Public Service Reference lab for research on animal nutrition and the nutritional value of animal products Services provided by the Social Sciences Unit Technological advice and service in horticulture: SIETINET The Diagnosis Centre for Plant Pests and Diseases Varieties developed by ILVO-Plant - Cultivars on variety lists and commercialised Organic seeds and vegetative propagating material: available varieties and variety information Technological Consultancy Service (TAD) FarmCOMPOST Variety testing - Post control trials - Seed Testing Laboratory Reference laboratory for plant and soil National Reference Laboratories (NRL) for GMO and for Milk and Milk Products Scientific guidance of MCC-Vlaanderen Accredited laboratory analyses in the framework of food authenticity and food safety Application of ISO procedures in the BELAC-accredited microbiological analyses Laboratory analyses in function of labelling of food and feed containing or derived from GMOs in the frame of EU regulations 1829/2003 and 1830/ Ring trials in the context of autocontrol TAD Hoevezuivel - Farm dairying in practice Installation of an autocontrol system in the pilot plant AgriCONSTRUCT Agromech CONTROL dairy equipment The Spray Tech Lab Preventagri Vorming Publications Articles published in journals and includes in the Science Citation Index Other scientific articles Books and chapters in books Proceedings and abstracts of symposia and congresses Vulgarised articles Ph. D. theses ILVO communications Policy-relevant notes and reports in the framework of mandated and other tasks Theses and training reports Communication Press contacts and visits of Belgian and foreign delegations Activities, workshops and courses organised by or in cooperation with ILVO Lectures and information 156 7

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7 Introduction Dear Reader, The entire ILVO staff are honoured to present this 2007 activity report was a year in which we glanced back over 75 years of public agricultural research. As time progressed, the research subjects were updated and today they reflect a sustainable and competitive agriculture, where food security and food safety are key. Research methods have evolved dramatically and help us to provide answers to the questions raised by the sector and the society. The academic meeting, the networking day and the open day allowed us to look at obtained research results, innovations and valorisations, but they also gave us the opportunity to look at future research. Without research, there is no sustainable or competitive agriculture. In the future, however, research will depend on sustained financing. More and more, knowledge plays a key role in our society, and also agriculture is becoming an increasingly knowledge-intensive sector. Today, research financing is no longer the exclusive task of the government. Contributions will have to be made by all the stakeholders. In order to be sustainable, agriculture must be well balanced. As a research institute we are concerned with the balance between food, bioenergy and nature. Today we notice that even minor imbalances in one or the other direction can influence food prices and food supply, ecological stability and biodiversity. Plant improvement with a view to producing sufficient quantities of food, fodder and reusable raw materials, links up seamlessly with the mission of the former RvP (Research Station for Plant Breeding) back in Contributing to a better understanding of quality, a well balanced countryside and a more prosperous global society also form part of the current ILVO mission. As far as the future is concerned, ILVO research will deal with cooperation and questions from a varied range of farmers and companies, i.e. on the one hand high tech companies focusing on the global market and on the other hand farmers producing for the European market and growers responding to various demands on the Flemish home market. During the past year, ILVO has increased its internal and external communication, networking and cooperation efforts. The Social Sciences Unit having become operational and much attention goes to future scanning and transition processes, for example in the vegetable, ornamental, pig and fishery sectors. Within the agricultural sector, ILVO occupies an important position in the research landscape. We seek to further develop this position in a joint effort with universities, research centres, manufacturers, suppliers, processors and distributors. With the approval of our management agreement and the filling of heads of division positions, a phase in the Better Administrative Policy reorganisation was concluded. This should make our research activities, our policy foundation and our service provision more efficient. ILVO seeks to expand its role as a motivating and stimulating platform for agrobusiness. This activity report provides insight into our scientific output and services and focuses upon a number of research items and themes, both completed and new. May I take this opportunity to express my thanks to all staff and to all those who support and make our work possible, either directly or indirectly, for their efforts and assistance. I also wish to thank all those who have put their confidence in ILVO as well as the monitoring, managing and advisory bodies. Finally, may I wish you happy reading. Erik Van Bockstaele Administrator-General ILVO welcomes any information, questions or suggestions you may have. Tel.: +32 (9) htttp://www.ilvo.vlaanderen.be 9

8 Administrator-general General director Research Communication Personnel Financial Services IT Welfare and Environment Secretariat and Logistics Animal Sciences Social Sciences Plant Sciences Technology & Food Research area -Functional Animal Nutrition -Animal Husbandry and Welfare -Fisheries Research area -Growth and Development -Applied Genetics and Breeding -Crop Husbandry and Environment -Crop Protection Research area -Agricultural Engineering -Food Safety -Product Quality and Innovation Corporate Personality Management Commission Members ILVO: - Prof. dr. ir. Erik Van Bockstaele, administrator-general, Chairman - dr. ir. Kristiaan Van Laecke, head of a unit - Prof. dr. ir. Daniël De Brabander, scientific director - dr. Lieve Herman, head of a unit - ir. Dirk Van Lierde, scientific director Leading official of the department Agriculture and Fisheries: - Mr. Jules Van Liefferinge, secretary-general Representative of the Flemish Minister competent for science and technology: - dr. Kathleen D Hondt Representative of the Flemish Council for Agriculture and Horticulture: - Mr. Philippe Appeltans (until 30/09/07) - Mr. Georges Van Keerbergen (since 01/10/07) Representative of the Inspection of Finances: - Mr. Kurt De Bruyne, inspector-general Expert policy domain Agriculture and Fisheries: - ir. Hector Willocx, project leader ALV 10

9 Mission ILVO ILVO s mission consists of the execution and coordination of policy-supporting scientific research and the accompanying public service with a view to sustainable agriculture and fisheries in an economic, ecological and social perspective. Based on scientific disciplines ILVO will build up the necessary knowledge for improving products and production methods, for monitoring the quality and safety of the end products and for improving the policy instruments as a basis for the development of the sector and rural policy. ILVO will inform the authorities, the various sectors and society at regular intervals. 11

10 1. Management and units MANAGEMENT ILVO - Management Prof. dr. ir. Erik Van Bockstaele, administrator-general Prof. dr. ir. Maurice Moens, research director Prof. dr. ir. Johan Van Waes, communication director ir. Frank Lagaisse, environment and welfare dr. ir. Koen Grijspeerdt, IT ing. Steven Cools, IT ing. Sabine Nelis, IT ing. Ellen Claeys, IT ing. Jurgen Desamblanx, IT lic. Katrien De Bruyn, financial coordination 12

11 MANAGEMENT Communication In the course of 2007 the ILVO intranet website was restyled. It features a large number of sections which aim to inform ILVO staff members as accurately as possible. Also, a six-monthly staff magazine called OVLI is published and afternoon information sessions are organised by target group. A large number of new initiatives were taken by the communication unit, or existing ones were confirmed: Nieuwsgolf (news wave) (2-monthly), including theme-based issues such as pigs, with compilations of all information concerning ILVO research activities in connection with the theme, Organisation of theme days and ILVO training programmes, Contribution to the EGF congress (3-5 September Ghent) and the Green care congress Farming for Health (6-9 November Ghent). Among the major tasks of the communication unit in 2007 was the organisation of 75 years of Public Agricultural and Fisheries Research in Flanders. On 21 June 400 guests attended an academic meeting. A professional networking day on 22 June, organised by the various units, attracted more than 450 participants. The closing event in the afternoon of 24 June was an open house at the various sites in Merelbeke and Melle. On that day ILVO welcomed more than 2,000 visitors. All these activities were compiled in a Nieuwsgolf, including texts of lectures and presentations, as well as a large number of posters relating to the history of the research activities and of the afternoon s recurrent themes (bio-energy, crop protection and disease resistance, healthy and safe food). Also, an ILVO film was made for the occasion. Integrity and dilemma training courses The dilemma training courses in the framework of integrity policy, which started in 2006 for the risk groups, were continued in 2007 for all ILVO staff. The idea is to raise staff awareness of the possibility of dilemmas on the work floor, to create an open climate in which these dilemmas may be discussed, and how to handle one s own authority or decision power. Introduction of Balanced Scorecards (BSCs) Following the May 2006 strategic Seminar, during which, among other things, the mission, vision and strategic objectives of ILVO were defined, the development of Balanced Scorecards (BSCs) was initiated in BSC is a philosophy of harmonised and nuanced steering. It is also the pre-eminent tool for verifying whether an organisation s strategic intentions are being materialised. The assignment was executed under the guidance of an external consulting firm (Delta-i Consulting). In a first stage the BSCs were developed for the supporting services and management. Later on, they will be created for the units. The IT unit developed a KPI registration and follow-up tool. Strategic seminar During a strategic seminar on 4 and 5 October, headed by Delta-i, the strategic objectives of ILVO were adapted and actions were presented. In addition, the following documents were created or adapted: SWOT analysis, stakeholders and their expectations, risk analysis, operational objectives of ILVO and the 4 units, determination of key success factors (KSFs) of ILVO. Sustainable development A working group within ILVO deals with various aspects of sustainability. Besides the usual initiatives in the area of sustainability which administrations in general put in place, there are a large number of activities in connection with sustainability which relate to environmental policy and the research programme. This is due to the specific character of ILVO as a research institute which conducts lots of activities on trial fields and in laboratories. These activities were summarised in a memorandum. Also, a contribution was made to a project entitled aspects of sustainability within the functioning of the Flemish authority, in which the agriculture and fisheries policy area was one of three pilot areas. 13

12 MANAGEMENT IT service The ILVO IT service provides internal services in the field of information technology to ILVO staff. With more than 500 employees, about as many computers and a great many servers and printers spread over 7 sites and interconnected by a powerful, self-managed network, this is quite a challenging task. In addition, the IT service develops some (database) applications for internal and external use. Moreover, each site has its own IT manager, who intercepts and, if possible, solves local problems. Besides routine support, new initiatives are being developed as well. Some examples from 2007: Further harmonisation of the Windows network structure was carried out, ensuring greater efficiency of central management and accessibility to all ILVO staff, thus allowing effective data exchange. In addition a powerful database and application server was installed, hosting among others the time recording system, central accounting and certain software applications. The ILVO intranet was expanded, making it the pre-eminent source of information at ILVO. The ILVO website was maintained and expanded in collaboration with the Communication department. Other ILVO-related websites have their place on the ILVO server as well. The number of visitors to this young website is increasing steadily. As far as the IT service is concerned, the transition from CLO to ILVO is not completed entirely yet. Next year, for example, the last CLO remnants will be migrated to the ILVO network. Further centralisation of IT service provision will be continued, while allowing for maximum flexibility which is necessary for research. Gradually, the telephone system will be added to the core tasks of the service which, in time, will evolve towards a fullyfledged IT department Environment and Welfare The interest in environment and welfare in the workplace is growing. We are becoming aware that our care for them determines our quality of life. Also the social aspects and our responsibility to future generations are determining our efforts to pay sufficient attention to the environment and welfare in the workplace. The reorganisation of ILVO, which consolidates the 7 departments into 4 units, constitutes an effective contribution to the development and integration of the environment and welfare in our activities. This translates into a better defined and structured approach of the environment and welfare, and it facilitates the development of more sustainable solutions for the problems that confront us. Our environmental and welfare commitment is reflected, among others, in a well thought-out and flexible investment policy. In this, our efforts benefit from a sound cooperation with Facility Management. Management and maintenance of our heritage undeniably forms an important part of our performance in terms of environment and welfare. Below are some important investments in this connection: installation of a tank and washing station at Plant site Farm extension of quarantine laboratory at Plant site Crop Protection study of waste water at ILVO sites Melle- Merelbeke systematic conversion of the heating systems to gas. 14

13 MANAGEMENT Management control and finance Operational resources ILVO receives an annual allocation from the Flemish government. This allocation contains direct funding in the form of a basic subsidy for operational and personnel resources relating to ILVO employees of the Flemish authority (statutory and contractual staff), whose wage cost is carried directly by the basic allocation. Besides the basic allocation, ILVO has revenues from project research and from the business unit. These revenues and costs of project research are managed by the Own Capital. Income and expenditure of both accounting systems are combined yearly in order to establish the total operational cost of ILVO. 7 % 5 % 11 % Origin of means % 10 % 45 % 10 % Recent changes Regarding budgeting and accounts, the 21 May 1997 Flemish Government Decree on integrated economic accounting and budget reporting for Flemish public institutions applies to ILVO Own Capital as from 1 January As from 2007, the ILVO OC has to draw up an ESR budget. In the framework of ESR financial balance monitoring, a quarterly report containing operational figures and forecasts must be submitted. Since 1 January 2007, the ILVO OC is also subject to the dispositions of the 3 February 2006 Flemish Government Decree, modified by the 23 June 2006 Decree on the terms of introduction of the central cash management system for Flemish autonomous agencies established following the 18 July 2003 Flemish Parliament Act on administrative policy. In concrete terms, this Basic finance domain A&F Projects Flemish government IWT Federal government EU Private sector means that all Own Capital ILVO financial accounts are incorporated into the Central Financing Organ (CFO). Business Unit Costs % 6 % 3 % 74 % Personnel Working costs Investments Trade goods 15

14 MANAGEMENT Research For the first time, the research programme was built entirely from data introduced into a single computer database (INPRO). This allows flexible presentation and management of research projects. The research programme was discussed over several sessions with administrative colleagues from the A&F policy domain. This interaction between ILVO researchers and the first users of the results obtained from ILVO research, is widely applauded. Under the management agreement, the realisation of the ILVO vision and objectives is examined yearly by means of so-called performance indicators. These indicators assess the policy relevance of research activities, the scientific output, the cooperation, the use of basic financing and the attraction of external funds. In 2007, 8 ILVO doctorate scholarships were granted to young researchers. Thus, on the one hand ILVO seeks to develop new capacities in a number of areas, and on the other hand it intends to obtain scientifically underpinned answers to certain pressing research issues. Within the framework of the cooperation with organised producers and practical centres, a meeting was organised on 15 February between ILVO researchers and those of the various practical centres. In 91 statements the researchers presented their research questions and the research strategy used. Subsequent to that, cooperation possibilities were amply discussed. On the international level, possibilities for cooperation with China (Hebei province), Mali, The Netherlands, Uganda and Scotland were explored. With such cooperation, ILVO is looking for complementarity in finding answers to common research questions, but it is also happy to let others benefit from its expertise. 16

15 MANAGEMENT ILVO Personnel department The path chosen in 2006 for the implementation of various HRM processes was continued in 2007 in order to ensure better service provision to the more than 500 staff members and executives. The objective is maximum staff satisfaction, while allowing for budgets and regulations. In this, allowance is made for the unique personnel structure of ILVO: personnel of the Flemish government and of the Own Capital. The streamlining of selection and recruitment procedures was continued and improvements were made to the introduction process of new employees. In addition, a promotion procedure was developed for personnel of the Own Capital saw the enlargement of the personnel department with a view to a better follow-up of the day-to-day personnel administration. Whereas before, each site carried out its own time recording, a new central time recording system was installed in This also enables the fully automatic and correct calculation of luncheon voucher quantities. Also since 2007, all sickness notifications are registered centrally and we obtained access, although limited, to the Vlimpers system. There is very regular consultation with the Agriculture and Fisheries personnel department, which results in a good and close cooperation. Internal communication relies on ILVO guidelines, an system to all staff and the new ILVO intranet. Table: The staff of ILVO (Flemish government and Corporate personality) General total ILVO 31/12/07 Male/FTU Female/FTU Total/FTU Share CP (%) A-level 115/ /92 216/204 54/56 B-level 43/39 52/45 95/84 49/49 C/D-level 121/115 90/69 211/184 34/36 Total 279/ / /472 45/47 17

16 ANIMAL SCIENCES Head of the unit ANIMAL SCIENCES Prof. dr. ir. Bart Sonck (since 1/11/07) Scheldeweg 68 B-9090 Melle Tel.: +32 (0) Fax: +32 (0) Functional Animal Nutrition Scientific director dr. ir. Gerard Huyghebaert Researchers lic. Johan Aerts dr. ir. Johan De Boever dr. ir. Evelyne Delezie dr. ir. Sam De Campeneere dr. Sam Millet dr. Nico Peiren (since 15/10/07) ing. José Vanacker Animal Husbandry and Welfare Scientific director Prof. dr. ir. Daniël De Brabander Researchers ir. Marijke Aluwé ir. Stephanie Buijs lic. Karen Bekaert (since 17/09/07) ing. Marc De Paepe dr. ir. Leo Fiems dr. Nicoline Geverink lic. Johan Ides (from 1/04/07 until 14/09/07) ing. Sofie Isebaert (since 1/02/07) ir. Luc Maertens lic. Griet Nijs (until 28/09/07) ir. Margot Sprenger (since 5/11/07) dr. Frank Tuyttens lic. Els Van Poucke dr. ir. Monique Van Oeckel 18

17 ANIMAL SCIENCES Fisheries Ankerstraat 1 B-8400 Oostende Tel.: +32 (0) Fax: +32 (0) Scientific director dr. Kris Cooreman Researchers ir. Dieter Anseeuw (since 1/10/07) ir. Karen Bekaert ing. Fernand Delanghe lic. Daan Delbare ir. Wim Demaré ir. Jochen Depestele ing. Sabrine Derveaux lic. Hans Hillewaert MSc. Stefan Hoffman dr. Kristian Hostens lic. Bart Maertens lic. Kelle Moreau (since 17/09/07) MSc. Ine Moulaert dr. Koen Parmentier dr. ir. Hans Polet dr. Frank Redant ( 6/12/07) lic. Hendrik Stouten MSc. Els Torreele (since 12/09/07) ir. Kris Van Craeynest lic. Sofie Vandemaele (since 17/09/07) dr. Sofie Vandendriessche (since 17/09/07) MSc. Els Vanderperren ing. Johny Vanhee ing. Willy Vanhee dr. Gert Van Hoey (since 1/12/07) lic. Kris Van Nieuwenhove (since 15/02/07) lic. Yves Verhaegen (since 5/11/07) lic. Verschueren Bart (since 1/02/07) lic. Jan Wittoeck 19

18 ANIMAL SCIENCES Functional Animal Nutrition In the domain of Functional Animal Nutrition applied scientific research on animal production aims to match the supply of nutrients with the requirements of cattle, pigs and poultry, taking into account the production of milk, meat and eggs with a high nutritional and health value as well as a minimum output of minerals into the environment. Research into nutrition physiology through digestion and balance trials results in a more correct feed evaluation and contributes to an improved nutrient provision for the different animal species and hence to a better nutrient efficacy and a lower environmental pollution. In this respect, our reference laboratory plays an important role by the ISO guarantee for quality analyses on both animal feeds and animal products. Research topics with dairy cattle are: the use of grains as concentrate replacement, the incorporation of leguminosae in the ration and the use of by-products originating from the production of biofuel. Besides, a project is on-going to investigate if and how the rumen-degradable protein balance (DPB) of dairy cattle rations can be lowered to reduce N-excretion. A project with meat pigs to reduce the ammonia emission is completed. In another project the effect of lower protein levels on nitrogen excretion and meat percentage is studied aiming at an optimum for economy as well as ecology. Because of the ban of feed antibiotics, there is a continuous need for an objective evaluation of alternatives, e.g. probiotics, prebiotics, enzymes, acids, yeasts, etheric oils and anticoccidials. Thereby both intestinal health and nutrient efficacy are important because of their impact on the zootechnical performances and nutrient excretion. Besides, there is a need for new dietary strategies to improve N- and P-utilisation and to reduce N- and P-excretion in poultry. Main research themes in 2007 Feed evaluation for cattle, pigs and poultry Valorisation of cereals, leguminosae and byproducts originating from the production of biofuel in dairy cattle nutrition Reduction of the N-excretion and the import of protein by feeding measures in dairy cattle Indicators of N-excretion by dairy cattle Pig nutrition aiming at a reduced N-excretion and NH 3 -emission Feeding strategies to improve N- and P-utilisation and to reduce N- and P-excretion in poultry Effect of feed composition on the quality of animal products and on animal health. Services Reference laboratory for feed research and nutritional value of animal products. 20

19 ANIMAL SCIENCES Animal husbandry and welfare This research domain focuses on key aspects of cattle, pig and poultry husbandry in general as well as on animal welfare in particular. Although the research topics are often related to animal nutrition, they concern the wider perspective of livestock production. In suckler cow husbandry, attention is mainly paid to a maximum and efficient valorisation of grassland. Proper feeding strategies are developed to restrict feed intake during the winter period and to replenish body reserves during the following pasture period. The research with sows aims at the legislation which stipulates that by 2013 pregnant sows must to be housed in groups. This implies an adapted feeding strategy. To avoid a high investment and to improve animal welfare, research focuses on the provision of ad libitum of fibre rich feedstuffs, ensiled roughages and wet by-products. In 40 commercial sow units the effects on production data, animal health, animal welfare, dust concentration, sanitary status and ammonia concentration in the sow house are investigated to help the pig farmer with choosing a group housing system suitable to the prevailing farm conditions and management. Another hot item in pig husbandry is the surgical castration of male piglets, which represents a great part of our research. Key points hereby are measures to reduce boar taint without castration and methods to rapidly detect boar taint. Animal welfare research focuses on the development of objective, valid and innovative indicators. These are subsequently integrated into a protocol for evaluating the general state of welfare. In that respect, ILVO-Animal Sciences contributes within the EU-project Welfare Quality to the development of a EU-standard for evaluating the welfare of farm animals. Another research project aims at deriving an optimal stocking density as a compromise between profitability and animal welfare. Moreover, it is explored what importance Flemish citizens allocate to this topic. Main research themes in 2007 Cattle husbandry Optimal milk regimes for double-muscled calves Efficient valorisation of grass with attention to the mineral efficiency and excretion in doublemuscled cows and heifers. Pig husbandry Castration and boar taint in entire males Managing the weaning process to improve growth and health of piglets post-weaning Group housing of pregnant sows. Poultry Modulation of growth of commercial broiler breeds to improve sustainability of broiler husbandry. Animal welfare Development and validation of innovative indicators for animal welfare, such as fluctuating asymmetry Determination of the optimum stocking density of group-housed livestock Environmental enrichment for livestock. Services Contract trials as product support, mainly feed additives for poultry, pigs and dairy cattle. 21

20 ANIMAL SCIENCES Fisheries The mission of the Research Area Fisheries (D-VI) comprises research and advice in the field of (1) fisheries biology and management, (2) aquaculture at sea and on land, (3) technical fisheries, (4) the quality of the marine habitat and its resources, and (5) the technological aspects of fisheries and aquaculture products. These core tasks are profoundly applied to answer the questions on scientifically sound policy advice, as requested by national and international governmental bodies and professionals. Within D-VI, it is clear that each topic of the production process is a part of the whole of fishery technical, fishery biological, socio-economic, ecological and food technological interests. D- VI reacts rapidly since several years to develop alternatives in all fields of the production process to allow fisheries and related professional sectors to resist the unfavourable economic circumstances. In this process, three timely spread visions were identified and developed that also include the social goals and take into account the abilities and the will of the fisheries professionals to invest. The visions of D-VI form part of the national Strategic Plan on Fisheries. However, not all viewpoints are shared and supported by D-VI. The main goal of D-VI is to investigate how the Belgian fleet composition can be optimised to a rational and sustainable exploitation model in a social context. This process, which is ongoing for already quite a time, exceeds all bounds and is being accelerated. Management advice is worth as much as the load it covers. The European Common Fisheries Policy is being reformed because the measures have never satisfied to protect the fish stocks. The current indicators such as population dynamics, stock size, discards and exploitation of commercial fish (e.g. sole, plaice, cod and whiting) and crustaceans (mainly langoustines and brown shrimp) do no longer comply with the needs. They are being reformed within the perspective of the ecosystems and their functioning and need adjusted correspondingly. Technical fisheries research is one of the pillars of the development of alternatives to the current fisheries, preserving the ecosystems and meeting the social needs. One of the priority elements here 22

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