Policy brief - Barriers to improving productivity and innovation in sheep farming

Policy Brief

SheepNet was initiated in November 2016, funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

SheepNet is about practice-driven innovation to improve the productivity of meat sheep and milk sheep, to improve flock productivity, which will in turn improve farmers’ income and, therefore, the sustainability and attractiveness of sheep production.

SheepNet proposed a number of innovations and provided solutions to many of the needs and questions expressed by stakeholders. However, significant barriers to improvements still exist including:

  • The sheep industry is under-served by innovation technologies and devices to improve sheep management are rarely developed as this sector is perceived, by these industries, as less likely to uptake or afford to implement them.
  • Similarly veterinary medicines are frequently not developed specifically for sheep (such as analgesics), and thus optimal medical and withdrawal periods are not available.
  • We recommend that particular attention, support and funding be directed towards the sheep sector to mitigate these issues as the private sector is not meeting the needs of sheep farming.
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