20/10/2020

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

Sheep output in Europe is on the decrease – indicating the EU is now importing additional sheep meat than ever. That’s why an EU-funded undertaking is bringing Europe’s major sheep developing nations around the world alongside one another to make new options and greatest tactics. As a result, farmers throughout Europe are already looking at an enhance in both equally sheep output and profitability that will also reward people.


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Sheep meat and milk output is an crucial industry in Europe, specially in nations around the world like Ireland, France, Italy, Romania, Spain and the British isles. In actuality, with eighty five million sheep on 830 000 farms in the EU, additionally an additional 33 million sheep in Turkey, Europe’s flock is greater than Australia and New Zealand’s put together.

Nevertheless even with this significant amount of sheep, Europe is only 85 % self-adequate in sheep meat. As a result, the EU is the world’s next major importer of sheep meat.

Driving this gap in self-sufficiency is a declining sheep industry. Given that 2000, the amount of sheep producers in the EU has declined by 50 %, and for the duration of the previous ten decades sheep efficiency has diminished by up to 40 % (depending on the country and the farming system). 

“Different components can describe this decrease, but the primary a single is small sheep efficiency, or the amount of lambs reared for every ewe joined on the farm,” claims Jean-Marc Gautier, Main of Service at France’s Institut de l’Elevage.

Having said that, despite this adverse trend, Gautier sees substantial chances for improving sheep efficiency. “By improving replica achievements and lamb survivability, we can make improvements to farm profitability and enhance the self-sufficiency of sheep meat in Europe,” he claims.

Helping sheep farmers leverage these chances is the EU-funded SheepNet undertaking, a community of the EU’s major sheep developing nations around the world and Turkey. “Working with experts and shareholders, the undertaking created and shared options for raising output without having acquiring to export surplus sheep meat,” adds Gautier.

Making sheep output additional appealing

The project’s primary intention was to achieve an enhance in ewe efficiency of .one lambs reared for every ewe joined. This would be the equivalent of 64 000 tonnes of sheep meat, hence resulting in a web self-sufficiency of 92 %. On top of that, farmers would receive an around EUR ten enhance for every additional .one lamb bought for every ewe joined.

“We are confident that these alterations will make sheep output additional appealing for both equally the recent and following generations of producers,” clarifies Gautier.

To achieve this, the undertaking labored right with farmers, experts, and other stakeholders. Collectively, they recognized options and greatest tactics for improving ewe efficiency and flock profitability.

“These options targeted on every little thing from diet administration for the duration of late being pregnant to colostrum administration, leads to of lamb mortality and abortion, artificial rearing, ewe physique affliction rating, and sheep shed administration,” claims Gautier. “We also produced a lambing inventory and strategy for far better ram administration.” 

In overall, the undertaking developed 42 options, 88 suggestions and tricks, and 22 factsheets. All of these deliverables are available by way of the SheepNet community system in six languages. Each and every incorporates complete details on envisioned expenses and positive aspects, prerequisites, references, and responses from real farmers.

Obtaining a massive effect

With these options in hand, scientists following turned in the direction of dissemination. “SheepNet is all about apply-driven innovation and functional expertise sharing,” remarks Gautier. “Through our community, we promoted the implementation and dissemination of revolutionary technologies and tactics for improving sheep efficiency.”

Dissemination pursuits incorporated the organisation of 5 workshops for every associate country (35 in overall), additionally 5 transnational workshops and a last summary seminar. Other pursuits incorporated the output of 19 push releases, 143 article content, one hundred twenty videos, and 33 infographics – not to mention the use of different social media platforms.

In accordance to Gautier, SheepNet’s options are already acquiring a massive effect. “We’ve been given substantial responses from farmers telling us how they are working with our community and options to make improvements to flock efficiency, labour performance, and farm profitability,” concludes Gautier.

Based mostly on the project’s achievements, scientists launched EuroSheep, a spin-off Horizon 2020 undertaking targeted on sheep wellbeing and diet. They are presently operating on a new precision livestock farming initiative.