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 far more sheep meat than ever. That is why an EU-funded undertaking is bringing Europe’s main sheep developing international locations collectively to generate new solutions and best methods. As a outcome, farmers across Europe are currently observing an enhance in each sheep generation and profitability that will also gain buyers.


© Paul Steven #316843808, 2020

Sheep meat and milk generation is an essential market in Europe, specifically in international locations like Ireland, France, Italy, Romania, Spain and the United kingdom. In reality, with 85 million sheep on 830 000 farms in the EU, in addition an added 33 million sheep in Turkey, Europe’s flock is larger than Australia and New Zealand’s put together.

Nevertheless even with this large variety of sheep, Europe is only 85 % self-adequate in sheep meat. As a outcome, the EU is the world’s 2nd premier importer of sheep meat.

Behind this gap in self-sufficiency is a declining sheep market. Since 2000, the variety of sheep producers in the EU has declined by 50 %, and for the duration of the previous ten many years sheep productiveness has lessened by up to 40 % (relying on the nation and the farming process). 

“Different variables can describe this decrease, but the primary a person is reduced sheep productiveness, or the variety of lambs reared per ewe joined on the farm,” states Jean-Marc Gautier, Main of Service at France’s Institut de l’Elevage.

Having said that, even with this negative development, Gautier sees major opportunities for improving sheep productiveness. “By improving copy results and lamb survivability, we can increase farm profitability and enhance the self-sufficiency of sheep meat in Europe,” he states.

Aiding sheep farmers leverage these opportunities is the EU-funded SheepNet undertaking, a community of the EU’s main sheep developing international locations and Turkey. “Working with scientists and shareholders, the undertaking created and shared solutions for growing generation with no obtaining to export surplus sheep meat,” provides Gautier.

Building sheep generation far more interesting

The project’s primary target was to accomplish an enhance in ewe productiveness of .one lambs reared per ewe joined. This would be the equivalent of 64 000 tonnes of sheep meat, thus ensuing in a web self-sufficiency of 92 %. On top of that, farmers would receive an around EUR ten enhance for every added .one lamb sold per ewe joined.

“We are self-confident that these alterations will make sheep generation far more interesting for each the present-day and upcoming generations of producers,” describes Gautier.

To accomplish this, the undertaking labored directly with farmers, scientists, and other stakeholders. Jointly, they determined solutions and best methods for improving ewe productiveness and flock profitability.

“These solutions centered on all the things from nutrition management for the duration of late pregnancy to colostrum management, results in of lamb mortality and abortion, synthetic rearing, ewe entire body problem score, and sheep lose management,” states Gautier. “We also designed a lambing stock and technique for superior ram management.” 

In full, the undertaking produced forty two solutions, 88 tips and tips, and 22 factsheets. All of these deliverables are available by means of the SheepNet neighborhood platform in six languages. Just about every features detailed information on anticipated expenditures and advantages, conditions, references, and responses from real farmers.

Obtaining a significant affect

With these solutions in hand, researchers upcoming turned in direction of dissemination. “SheepNet is all about practice-pushed innovation and useful knowledge sharing,” remarks Gautier. “Through our community, we promoted the implementation and dissemination of ground breaking technologies and methods for improving sheep productiveness.”

Dissemination routines included the organisation of 5 workshops per associate nation (35 in full), in addition 5 transnational workshops and a last summary seminar. Other routines included the generation of 19 press releases, 143 articles, one hundred twenty films, and 33 infographics – not to mention the use of numerous social media platforms.

According to Gautier, SheepNet’s solutions are currently obtaining a significant affect. “We’ve obtained major responses from farmers telling us how they are using our community and solutions to increase flock productiveness, labour performance, and farm profitability,” concludes Gautier.

Centered on the project’s results, researchers released EuroSheep, a spin-off Horizon 2020 undertaking centered on sheep well being and nutrition. They are presently doing the job on a new precision livestock farming initiative.