Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems
Adapting the feed, the animal and the feeding techniques to improve the efficiency and sustainability of monogastric livestock production systems

WP6 Sustainability assessment of the production system

WP leader: Guy Garrod (Newcastle University)
Involved partners: UNEW, IRTA, KU, AU, IFIP, ITAVI


To evaluate the overall sustainability of proposed new management systems that will implement the innovative feeding strategies/technologies developed by the project. Specific objectives of this WP are:

  • to identify appropriate single and composite indicators for the evaluation of the sustainability of the proposed novel management systems;
  • to conduct Life Cycle Assessments of proposed new management systems across a sample of real-world production systems;
  • to use Cost-Benefit Analysis to evaluate the net social and economic benefits associated with proposed new management systems;
  • to investigate the attitudes of farmers and consumers towards the adoption of new practices associated with the proposed new management systems.


The methods adopted in WP6 are state-of-the-art applications of well-established methodologies, applied in a novel holistic way to the assessment of sustainability of the new management systems proposed in earlier WPs. A normative Delphi method (Task 6.1) will be used to obtain consensus between experts across partner countries regarding the most important indicators of the sustainability of alternative livestock feeding strategies and will be used to suggest the relative weights that these indicators could take in the subsequent sustainability appraisal. The individual indicators that will be considered will be generated through the application of relevant methodologies as set out below.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) (Task 6.2) will be used to evaluate the environmental impacts of innovative feedstuffs (WP1), precision feeding systems (WP4) and breeding solutions (WP5). Similarly, a partial Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) (Task 6.3) will be used to estimate the associated economic and social impacts of these new feeding technologies. Task 6.3 will incorporate an initial market analysis of the availability of alternative protein sources, which will then be used in WP1 to help determine which specific sources will be tested empirically.

To ensure that public attitudes towards the positive and negative externalities of these approaches are properly considered, a choice experiment approach (Task 6.4) will be used to estimate consumer preferences for relevant management attributes. In addition, a qualitative analysis of farmers’ attitudes (Task 6.4) will investigate any potential barriers to the uptake of new methods and technologies and will explore how these new approaches to animal nutrition and feeding can be made more acceptable.

In Task 6.5 a composite indicator of sustainability will be constructed using the individual indicators and weights suggested by analysis of the Delphi data in Task 6.1. This will be populated by data estimated in Tasks 6.2-6.4 relating to the environmental, economic, and social impacts of potential new management approaches. This composite indicator approach allows comparing a range of feeding and nutrition solutions in terms of their sustainability and relative economic, environmental and social performance. Sensitivity analysis will then be undertaken to investigate the robustness of the evaluations under changes in assumptions about the composition of the indicator.


  • Task 6.1: Identification of sustainability indicators for proposed production systems (M1 -M24)
  • Task 6.2: Life Cycle Assessment of proposed management systems (M30 – M52)
  • Task 6.3: On-farm evaluation of proposed management systems (M1 – M52)
  • Task 6.4: Evaluation of consumer and farmer attitudes (M30 – M48)
  • Task 6.5 Sustainability appraisal (M45-M60)