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Moredun Research Institute

Formed by farmers for farmers to improve livestock health and welfare.

In 1920 Moredun was set up by a group of Scottish farmers who set about to improve livestock health. Nearly 100 years on and although the majority of staff today at Moredun are scientists, farmers still play a huge role in the way Moredun is governed. Whether it’s our regional advisors or board members, farmers (and close links with farmers) play a very important role. Moredun’s science also helps find solutions to other major challenges, such as ensuring safe and sustainable food and water supplies; the consequences of a changing climate and conserving biodiversity.

Farmers at Culfoich Estate
Farmers at Culfoich Estate

Photographer: Kevin McCollum

Our research here at Moredun focuses on the prevention and control of infectious diseases caused by important viruses, bacteria and parasites, hence improving the health and welfare of farm animals. Our scientists work on a wide range of diseases, such as developing new diagnostic tests for sheep scab; improving vaccines for Chlamydia infection in sheep; investigating novel vaccine candidates and approaches for protection of dairy cattle against mastitis; and recently, the successful development of a vaccine against Haemonchus contortus (Barbervax), the most important roundworm parasite of sheep and goats in the world. In fact, the world class research carried out by our scientists has as led to the development of many vaccines, diagnostic tests and improved treatment strategies for livestock across the globe.

Cattle at Ballindalloch Castle
Cattle at Ballindalloch Castle

Photographer: Kevin McCollum

Not only is it important for Moredun to understand the problems faced by farmers today, it’s also important for Moredun to communicate our science to farmers. We do this by attending industry events, agricultural shows, organising and participating in livestock health roadshows, as well as providing up to date disease news sheets.

Farmers on their way to a farm Moredun livestock health roadshow
Farmers on their way to a farm Moredun livestock health roadshow

We’ve recently produced an engaging animation series focusing on different areas of livestock health. These short animations help bring key livestock health topics to life, highlighting areas such as worm control (War of the Worms) and important biosecurity measures for farmers (Battle of the Bugs). Our most recent animation, Fight the Fluke, highlights the important elements in control of liver fluke, an endemic flatworm parasite of sheep and cattle in the UK and responsible for production losses, welfare issues and deaths in livestock. The entire animation series to date can be viewed at moredun.org.uk.

Fight the Fluke

We also pride ourselves in being able to collaborate with other scientists from both the UK and all over the world, from Ross University in St Kitts, to Ag Research in New Zealand and Londrina University in Brazil. Moredun is also part of the PARAGONE consortium, which involves 17 partners from across six European countries, Uruguay and China. Those involved in the project are working towards vaccine development to control several globally important livestock parasites. On a more local level, our location within Pentlands Science Park also allows us to collaborate with others within the Midlothian Science Zone, such as The Roslin Institute, SRUC and The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, who also undertake research in animal and veterinary sciences and agritech.

Sheep in winter at Culfoich Farm
Sheep in winter at Culfoich Farm

Photographer: Kevin McCollum

As and when new challenges within the livestock industry develop, Moredun’s close working relationship with the farming community ensures that our research remains rooted in the practical needs of livestock farming today.

For more information, please visit moredun.org.uk.