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Where you'll learn: research, practicals and field visits – University of Reading

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Where you'll learn: research, practicals and field visits

Learn in our modern farms and laboratories, and visit our local learning partners.

With a base on our Whiteknights campus, plus 800 hectares of mixed farming land spread throughout the surrounding area, you'll benefit from our substantial first-class teaching and learning resources in a modern university setting.

You will have access to our farm animal research facilities at the Centre for Dairy Research (CEDAR) and Meat and Growth Research Unit (MGRU) for projects and practicals, so you'll become well acquainted with real-world animal production research and see animal science in practice.

Through our fields visits programme you will visit a range of animal facilities, for example veterinary centres, zoos, equine centres and small animal collections, which gives you a diverse experience and integrates theory with practice.

As well as interacting with animals, you'll be trained to use our suite of campus labs and will gain experience of various biochemical and microbiological analysis techniques during your degree.

Education facilities

Reading's ongoing investment in high-quality teaching and learning facilities includes extensive resources, from libraries and computing to laboratories and wireless networking.

Our building features lecture theatres with modern equipment and student PC rooms with printing facilities. In addition, you will have access to our undergraduate common room with study and social space and a café.

Located at the centre of our campus, the Library is open 24/7 during term time and contains more than a million volumes in addition to online databases and journals. It comprises a study area, group study rooms, PC suites, photocopying facilities and a café.

Across campus you will have 24-hour access to PC facilities and wireless internet use. Email, file storage and library access are provided to all students and many resources are available from anywhere, including via mobile devices, allowing you to study when and where it suits you. Interactive online tools, including our virtual learning environment, provide you with study resources and learning materials.

Centre for Dairy Research and the Shinfield farm

Our 580-hectare site at Shinfield is home to 550 Holstein dairy cows. The commercial herd is group fed and averages more than 10,000 litres of milk per cow per annum at 4% butterfat and 3.2% protein. Cows are milked through a 50-point rotary parlour.

The location is shared with the Centre for Dairy Research (CEDAR), a modern research facility that can accommodate up to 200 cows fed individually for applied research projects, and also provides specialist facilities for strategic studies with smaller groups of animals. Current research themes include sustainable dairy cow nutrition, milk composition, and environmental impacts of milk and meat production.

The Shinfield farm also includes:

  • 180 hectares of grazing and silage leys
  • 130 hectares of maize
  • 90 hectares of combinable crops
  • 110 hectares of permanent pasture
  • 60 hectares of woodland and scrub
  • 10 hectares of voluntary set-aside
  • 22 hectares of natural wildflower meadows (Langley Mead), which are open to the public.

the Sonning Farm

Our 180-hectare Sonning farm is home to our 12-hectare Crop Research Unit and our 360 dairy youngstock. We rear young stock and beef calves; these dairy replacements are the progeny of high-genetic merit Holstein sires and are return to Shinfield to calve at two years.

The Sonning farm also includes:

  • 60 hectares of combinable crops
  • 20 hectares of maize
  • 75 hectares of grazing leys
  • 13 hectares of woodland and scrub.

Meat and Growth Research Unit

Our Meat and Growth Research Unit (MGRU) is a multi-species unit available for work with poultry, pigs and small and large ruminants.

Research focuses on strategies to deliver healthier animal-derived foods to the food chain, and improve animal health and performance, for example through studies of gut health and investigating ways of reducing antimicrobial use.



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Get a real feel for University life and explore our award-winning campus.

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