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

Sheep generation in Europe is on the decrease – meaning the EU is now importing…

Sheep generation in Europe is on the decrease – meaning the EU is now importing additional sheep meat than ever. Which is why an EU-funded job is bringing Europe’s primary sheep manufacturing countries with each other to build new remedies and most effective techniques. As a outcome, farmers throughout Europe are by now looking at an improve in the two sheep generation and profitability that will also benefit buyers.


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Sheep meat and milk generation is an important sector in Europe, in particular in countries like Ireland, France, Italy, Romania, Spain and the United kingdom. In truth, with eighty five million sheep on 830 000 farms in the EU, as well as an supplemental 33 million sheep in Turkey, Europe’s flock is larger than Australia and New Zealand’s mixed.

Nevertheless even with this big number of sheep, Europe is only 85 % self-ample in sheep meat. As a outcome, the EU is the world’s 2nd greatest importer of sheep meat.

At the rear of this hole in self-sufficiency is a declining sheep sector. Given that 2000, the number of sheep producers in the EU has declined by 50 %, and through the previous 10 yrs sheep productivity has lessened by up to 40 % (depending on the nation and the farming program). 

“Different elements can reveal this decrease, but the key 1 is low sheep productivity, or the number of lambs reared per ewe joined on the farm,” states Jean-Marc Gautier, Main of Services at France’s Institut de l’Elevage.

On the other hand, despite this destructive craze, Gautier sees substantial possibilities for increasing sheep productivity. “By increasing copy achievement and lamb survivability, we can make improvements to farm profitability and improve the self-sufficiency of sheep meat in Europe,” he states.

Serving to sheep farmers leverage these possibilities is the EU-funded SheepNet job, a network of the EU’s primary sheep manufacturing countries and Turkey. “Working with researchers and shareholders, the job formulated and shared remedies for increasing generation without possessing to export extra sheep meat,” provides Gautier.

Making sheep generation additional appealing

The project’s key purpose was to reach an improve in ewe productivity of .1 lambs reared per ewe joined. This would be the equal of 64 000 tonnes of sheep meat, thus ensuing in a internet self-sufficiency of 92 %. Also, farmers would obtain an close to EUR 10 improve for each and every supplemental .1 lamb marketed per ewe joined.

“We are self-confident that these alterations will make sheep generation additional appealing for the two the latest and up coming generations of producers,” explains Gautier.

To reach this, the job worked directly with farmers, researchers, and other stakeholders. With each other, they discovered remedies and most effective techniques for increasing ewe productivity and flock profitability.

“These remedies concentrated on all the things from nourishment management through late pregnancy to colostrum management, leads to of lamb mortality and abortion, synthetic rearing, ewe system problem rating, and sheep shed management,” states Gautier. “We also designed a lambing stock and system for far better ram management.” 

In complete, the job made forty two remedies, 88 recommendations and tips, and 22 factsheets. All of these deliverables are offered by way of the SheepNet local community system in six languages. Each individual incorporates thorough information and facts on predicted fees and added benefits, prerequisites, references, and feedback from true farmers.

Having a large effect

With these remedies in hand, researchers up coming turned to dissemination. “SheepNet is all about exercise-pushed innovation and functional know-how sharing,” remarks Gautier. “Through our network, we promoted the implementation and dissemination of impressive systems and techniques for increasing sheep productivity.”

Dissemination actions incorporated the organisation of 5 workshops per spouse nation (35 in complete), as well as 5 transnational workshops and a final summary seminar. Other actions incorporated the generation of 19 push releases, 143 posts, one hundred twenty videos, and 33 infographics – not to point out the use of many social media platforms.

According to Gautier, SheepNet’s remedies are by now possessing a large effect. “We’ve acquired substantial feedback from farmers telling us how they are using our network and remedies to make improvements to flock productivity, labour effectiveness, and farm profitability,” concludes Gautier.

Centered on the project’s achievement, researchers introduced EuroSheep, a spin-off Horizon 2020 job concentrated on sheep overall health and nourishment. They are at the moment doing work on a new precision livestock farming initiative.