July 13, 2024

Paull Ank Ford

Business Think different

New ways to increase Europe’s sheep… – Information Centre – Research & Innovation

Sheep manufacturing in Europe is on the drop – that means the EU is now importing a lot more sheep meat than ever. That’s why an EU-funded project is bringing Europe’s foremost sheep producing countries with each other to create new remedies and best tactics. As a end result, farmers across Europe are currently seeing an maximize in equally sheep manufacturing and profitability that will also gain individuals.


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Sheep meat and milk manufacturing is an significant sector in Europe, primarily in countries like Ireland, France, Italy, Romania, Spain and the British isles. In fact, with eighty five million sheep on 830 000 farms in the EU, additionally an supplemental 33 million sheep in Turkey, Europe’s flock is more substantial than Australia and New Zealand’s mixed.

But even with this substantial amount of sheep, Europe is only 85 % self-enough in sheep meat. As a end result, the EU is the world’s next premier importer of sheep meat.

Behind this hole in self-sufficiency is a declining sheep sector. Given that 2000, the amount of sheep producers in the EU has declined by 50 %, and through the earlier 10 several years sheep efficiency has diminished by up to 40 % (dependent on the state and the farming technique). 

“Different factors can clarify this drop, but the primary just one is minimal sheep efficiency, or the amount of lambs reared per ewe joined on the farm,” states Jean-Marc Gautier, Main of Assistance at France’s Institut de l’Elevage.

Nonetheless, even with this unfavorable pattern, Gautier sees considerable options for improving upon sheep efficiency. “By improving upon reproduction achievement and lamb survivability, we can boost farm profitability and maximize the self-sufficiency of sheep meat in Europe,” he states.

Serving to sheep farmers leverage these options is the EU-funded SheepNet project, a network of the EU’s foremost sheep producing countries and Turkey. “Working with experts and shareholders, the project produced and shared remedies for increasing manufacturing without the need of getting to export excessive sheep meat,” adds Gautier.

Producing sheep manufacturing a lot more beautiful

The project’s primary goal was to achieve an maximize in ewe efficiency of .1 lambs reared per ewe joined. This would be the equal of 64 000 tonnes of sheep meat, thus resulting in a web self-sufficiency of 92 %. Also, farmers would receive an roughly EUR 10 maximize for each individual supplemental .1 lamb sold per ewe joined.

“We are self-confident that these changes will make sheep manufacturing a lot more beautiful for equally the latest and up coming generations of producers,” describes Gautier.

To achieve this, the project worked instantly with farmers, experts, and other stakeholders. With each other, they discovered remedies and best tactics for improving upon ewe efficiency and flock profitability.

“These remedies concentrated on anything from nourishment management through late being pregnant to colostrum management, triggers of lamb mortality and abortion, artificial rearing, ewe overall body situation rating, and sheep get rid of management,” states Gautier. “We also established a lambing stock and process for better ram management.” 

In overall, the project created 42 remedies, 88 recommendations and tricks, and 22 factsheets. All of these deliverables are out there by means of the SheepNet neighborhood system in 6 languages. Every features extensive facts on envisioned fees and gains, stipulations, references, and suggestions from actual farmers.

Obtaining a significant impact

With these remedies in hand, scientists up coming turned towards dissemination. “SheepNet is all about apply-pushed innovation and sensible information sharing,” remarks Gautier. “Through our network, we promoted the implementation and dissemination of impressive technologies and tactics for improving upon sheep efficiency.”

Dissemination activities incorporated the organisation of five workshops per lover state (35 in overall), additionally five transnational workshops and a final summary seminar. Other activities incorporated the manufacturing of 19 press releases, 143 articles or blog posts, 120 films, and 33 infographics – not to point out the use of different social media platforms.

According to Gautier, SheepNet’s remedies are currently getting a significant impact. “We’ve received considerable suggestions from farmers telling us how they are applying our network and remedies to boost flock efficiency, labour effectiveness, and farm profitability,” concludes Gautier.

Dependent on the project’s achievement, scientists released EuroSheep, a spin-off Horizon 2020 project concentrated on sheep well being and nourishment. They are now doing the job on a new precision livestock farming initiative.