About The National Research Institute of Animal Production
The National Research Institute of Animal Production in Kraków-Balice, founded in 1950, is the largest institute in the agricultural sector serving the whole country. The Institute is engaged in research and development work, which comprises the breeding of all species of farm animals and the entirety of animal production issues.
This activity is directed at the current and future needs of production of safe food under animal and environmentally friendly conditions as well as the use of farm animals for biomedical purposes. The Institute’s research programme covers 6 areas, which are regarded as strategic for the changing needs of animal production:
- Genetics and breeding of farm animals
- Development of the methods for biotechnology of reproduction of male and female farm animals
- In situ and ex situ conservation of farm animal genetic resources
- Animal cytogenetics and molecular genetics
- Animal nutrition and feed science
- Technology, ecology and economics of animal production
The applied research pursued within these areas finds practical application in production or shows progress as a result of cognitive studies. The Institute’s achievements, representing over 60 years of research, implementation and dissemination activities, have earned the National Research Institute of Animal Production the national status on 23 November 2006. This great distinction places the Institute among the leading scientific institutions in Poland. During the course of these years, the Institute has achieved numerous successes, which served agricultural practice. It is impossible here to mention them all, but the Institute’s accomplishments in the field of genetics, cytogenetics, reproductive biotechnology and molecular biology were particularly significant.
The remarkable increase in livestock productivity and the intensification of animal production result from the application of effective genetic methods, to which also Polish scientists have contributed. In order to utilize these genetically improved traits, it was essential to provide farm animals with more favourable environmental conditions. Scientists from our Institute keep working on this. Researchers from the Department of Animal Nutrition and Feed Science work to improve feeding methods, and those from the Department of Technology, Ecology and Economics of Animal Production improve animal management methods to ensure better welfare.
In the field of reproductive biology and later reproductive biotechnology, the Institute has conducted pioneering research on embryo transplantation in sheep and rabbits, and succeeded in the birth of the first Polish lambs from divided embryos as well as the first transgenic animals, lambs and calves after the transfer of frozen embryos. In 2002, the Institute developed methods for identification of animal protein in feeds, which are helpful in BSE prevention. Pigs of line 990 were created which meet the highest requirements of breeders, the meat industry and the consumer market. A highly valuable and efficient breed of White Kołuda geese was also created, with exports to Germany bringing an annual income of several dozen million euro. The National Research Institute of Animal Production also conducts research to determine the breeding value of animals based on their performance results; collects and standardizes reagents for blood typing research in order to determine the origin of animals; and runs the national feed information centre. A reserve of the genetic material of protected native breeds is being created at the Institute’s Bank of Biological Materials, which is like a Noah’s Ark. It is the National Research Institute of Animal Production that coordinates activities for conservation of farm animal genetic resources in Poland, among others by establishing conservation herds of old Polish breeds on farms and in the Institute’s experimental stations.
Since 2011, the National Research Institute of Animal Production has been implementing and coordinating the Multiannual Programme “Protection and management of national genetic resources of farm animals under conditions of sustainable use”. The programme involves activities concerning: sustainable use and protection of biodiversity of farm animals; genomic and biotechnological bases of breeding farm animals and animal production; improvement of farm animal welfare and monitoring of feed quality as an element of food safety and environmental protection; staff training and dissemination of knowledge on sustainable animal production. A great asset of the National Research Institute of Animal Production are well-organized experimental stations, the majority of which operate as commercial law companies. By ensuring appropriate conditions for experimentation, they play a key role in research work conducted at the Institute. The recent investments made to these stations led to the establishment of a unique research base and a major European centre of zootechnical research. Our staff are largely young, well prepared and educated research workers; making good use of the research facilities provided by the National Research Institute of Animal Production, they show great passion and creative invention in trying to transform animal production to meet the needs and expectations of the 21st century.