June 16, 2024

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

Sheep manufacturing in Europe is on the decrease – meaning the EU is now importing far more sheep meat than ever. Which is why an EU-funded project is bringing Europe’s top sheep manufacturing international locations with each other to make new answers and greatest methods. As a final result, farmers across Europe are already viewing an enhance in both of those sheep manufacturing and profitability that will also advantage buyers.


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© Paul Steven #316843808, supply:stock.adobe.com 2020

Sheep meat and milk manufacturing is an important industry in Europe, specifically in international locations like Eire, France, Italy, Romania, Spain and the British isles. In reality, with eighty five million sheep on 830 000 farms in the EU, in addition an additional 33 million sheep in Turkey, Europe’s flock is even bigger than Australia and New Zealand’s combined.

Still even with this large range of sheep, Europe is only 85 % self-sufficient in sheep meat. As a final result, the EU is the world’s second biggest importer of sheep meat.

Behind this gap in self-sufficiency is a declining sheep industry. Due to the fact 2000, the range of sheep producers in the EU has declined by 50 %, and all through the earlier 10 many years sheep efficiency has lowered by up to 40 % (dependent on the country and the farming procedure). 

“Different things can explain this decrease, but the main a person is minimal sheep efficiency, or the range of lambs reared for every ewe joined on the farm,” claims Jean-Marc Gautier, Chief of Support at France’s Institut de l’Elevage.

Nonetheless, in spite of this detrimental craze, Gautier sees major options for strengthening sheep efficiency. “By strengthening replica achievement and lamb survivability, we can boost farm profitability and enhance the self-sufficiency of sheep meat in Europe,” he claims.

Supporting sheep farmers leverage these options is the EU-funded SheepNet project, a community of the EU’s top sheep manufacturing international locations and Turkey. “Working with researchers and shareholders, the project formulated and shared answers for growing manufacturing with no having to export surplus sheep meat,” adds Gautier.

Creating sheep manufacturing far more attractive

The project’s main goal was to attain an enhance in ewe efficiency of .1 lambs reared for every ewe joined. This would be the equivalent of 64 000 tonnes of sheep meat, therefore resulting in a internet self-sufficiency of 92 %. On top of that, farmers would receive an roughly EUR 10 enhance for every additional .1 lamb offered for every ewe joined.

“We are self-assured that these alterations will make sheep manufacturing far more attractive for both of those the existing and up coming generations of producers,” describes Gautier.

To attain this, the project labored specifically with farmers, researchers, and other stakeholders. Together, they determined answers and greatest methods for strengthening ewe efficiency and flock profitability.

“These answers targeted on every little thing from diet management all through late pregnancy to colostrum management, causes of lamb mortality and abortion, synthetic rearing, ewe overall body affliction rating, and sheep drop management,” claims Gautier. “We also designed a lambing inventory and system for improved ram management.” 

In complete, the project produced 42 answers, 88 strategies and tips, and 22 factsheets. All of these deliverables are out there by using the SheepNet group platform in six languages. Just about every features complete information and facts on anticipated fees and rewards, stipulations, references, and suggestions from real farmers.

Having a huge effects

With these answers in hand, researchers up coming turned in the direction of dissemination. “SheepNet is all about practice-driven innovation and practical awareness sharing,” remarks Gautier. “Through our community, we promoted the implementation and dissemination of revolutionary systems and methods for strengthening sheep efficiency.”

Dissemination activities involved the organisation of 5 workshops for every companion country (35 in complete), in addition 5 transnational workshops and a last summary seminar. Other activities involved the manufacturing of 19 press releases, 143 content, a hundred and twenty movies, and 33 infographics – not to point out the use of several social media platforms.

In accordance to Gautier, SheepNet’s answers are already having a huge effects. “We’ve been given major suggestions from farmers telling us how they are employing our community and answers to boost flock efficiency, labour effectiveness, and farm profitability,” concludes Gautier.

Primarily based on the project’s achievement, researchers introduced EuroSheep, a spin-off Horizon 2020 project targeted on sheep wellness and diet. They are at present functioning on a new precision livestock farming initiative.