The Research Coordination Centre is responsible for the planning and coordination of the trials. In addition, the Research Coordination Centre is responsible for the automation of the institute and coordinates the trials. In consultation with the animal sectors and the laboratory, when it is decided to start a trial and to do certain observations.
Procedure concerning trials
When a trial setup has been given the green light, the Research Coordination Centre prepares the experiments (including any required orders for feedstuffs or additives), housing space, animals, manpower for weighing and/or observations (faeces or litter assessment, condition score, etc.). In principle, a Research Coordination Centre employee is present for weighing and observations.
The results of analyses undertaken by the laboratory, and the test data and observations from the facilities are collected at the Research Coordination Centre.
Subsequently, statistical analyses are carried out. The results are given to the responsible researcher who drafts a report and/or a circular letter. In case of research commissioned by an animal feed producer, the Research Coordination Centre orders the feeds. Occasionally statistical analyses are carried out for third parties, in which case the trial setup is discussed beforehand.
Within Schothorst Feed Research is the executing of the research done according to detailed descripted protocols. This concerns the necessary conditions (accommodation, equipment) as the executing the research en de automated registration of the research data. Schothorst Feed Research is momently busy with achieving the ISO-9001 certificate.
As regards automation, Schothorst Feed Research distinguishes between two systems:
- For office automation, use is made of "MS Office" packages and Cardbox (for literature studies). About 65 workstations are linked to a server on this local network.
- For business management, an central server is available. The terminals of the various animal sections are connected to this via an fibre-optic connection. In addition, in the stables is WIFI available. The stockmen enter data concerning daily management and request information. There is also communication with the milking parlour (milk yields and weights after each milking session), with the feed computers for cattle and pigs (individual supplies for sows and per pen for fattening pigs). In all cases feed calculations are sent to the feed computer and after feeding, weight data are downloaded. Feed and water intake as well as weighing platform data are downloaded daily from the practical-scale broiler house. As regards the layers, the numbers of eggs and their weight are directly read into the management system.
The relevant data for trials are taken from the management system and used to be processed and for statistical analyses. All business management and data processing programmes have been specially created for the Research Coordination Centre and are adapted and maintained for the trials.