2023-2024 / ANIM0029-1

Foundations and dynamics of livestock systems


54h Th

Number of credits

 Master in agricultural bioengineering (120 ECTS)6 crédits 


Yves Beckers, Jérôme Bindelle, Martine Schroyen


Yves Beckers

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the first semester, review in January


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

This course is part of the Bioengineers in Agricultural Sciences training and includes 6 credits offered in a mandatory core module totaling 10 credits. Its objective is to critically present the biological, technical and organizational foundations that govern the technical itineraries of major livestock systems in temperate and tropical regions by integrating unit operations from upstream to downstream of the chains. It presents in a historical perspective how the social, economic, cultural and climatic context has led to the emergence of a diversity of livestock systems in response to these diverse contexts. The knowledge acquired in this field is essential for Bioengineers whose professions are close to the livestock sector.  This knowledge is deepened and developed into essential know-how and skills for bioengineers interested in the place of livestock in temperate and tropical agricultural and food systems in the following modules: Livestock systems engineering, Animal biochemistry and pathology, Human-animal-society, feed science and forage culture, Smart Farming and Feed & Food
This basic course includes the following parts:
a. Socio-economic aspects of livestock systems at the global level
b. History and role of livestock in agriculture and human societies
c. Classification and description of livestock systems d. Environmental impact on livestock
e.  Fundamentals and dynamics of ruminant breeding in temperate and tropical environments (BBB, pastoralism and ranching)
f. Fundamentals and dynamics of pig farming in temperate and tropical environments 
g. Fundamentals and dynamics of poultry farming in temperate and tropical environments 

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

At the end of the course, the student must be able to: - master the knowledge of production systems as seen in the course; - be able to analyse, understand and discuss the close links between the natural, social and economic environment of a livestock area, including from a historical perspective, and the livestock farming methods found there, their strengths/opportunities and weaknesses/limitations - be able to formulate and objectify operational choices according to the production context, the products produced and the income generated by an animal production chain

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Fundaments in reproduction, genetics and animal improvement, digestive physiology, and nutrient metabolism is supposed to be mastered by the students attending this course.

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

The first part of the course consists of explaining the biological, technical and organisational bases specific to livestock farming. The second part of the course is dedicated to the presentation of several diversified and contrasting livestock systems (ruminants vs. monogastric, temperate vs. tropical environments).

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face lectures

Recommended or required readings

A reference list related to the topics covered by the lectures will be issued. Reading these documents will help the student to getting familiar with the scientific vocabulary of this discipline in both French and English. There is no compulsory reading. The PDF files of the slides presented by the teachers will be made available online (e-campus)

Any session :

- In-person

oral exam

- Remote

oral exam

- If evaluation in "hybrid"

preferred in-person

Additional information:

The knowledge and skills conferred by this course will be assessed in the form of a collegial oral examination. The practical details will be communicated during the classes by the teachers.
If sanitary conditions require it, the oral examination can be organized by videoconference.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

Some professors will teach in English. Students are encouraged to ask questions, even in French, if they have difficulty understanding what is being taught.
Course notes are posted online at the beginning of the course. However, the course is subject to constant adaptation and improvement during the year.


You can always ask us questions during the classes or by making an appointment by phone or via email:

  • jerome.bindelle@uliege.be, +32 81 62 26 09
  • yves.beckers@uliege.be, +32 81 62 21 19
  • martine.schroyen@uliege.be, +32 81 62 24 48

Association of one or more MOOCs