Press release 3 - SheepNet exchange solutions to improve sheep productivity

SheepNet exchange solutions to improve sheep productivity

Dr Tim Keady and Dr Alan Bohan

Animal & Grassland Research & Innovation Centre,

Mellows Campus, Teagasc, Athenry, Co. Galway.

 

Summary

The EU is only 85% self-sufficient in sheep meat and an increase in EU ewe productivity by 0.1 lambs reared per ewe joined would increase self-sufficiency to 92%. Solutions for many issues which negatively impact sheep productivity exist. SheepNet  an  EU funded project involving the 6 main EU sheep producing countries and Turkey, will share these solutions by establishing durable exchange between scientists and stakeholders across the EU.

 

SheepNet recently held its second transnational workshop in Romania. The workshop was attended by over 60 participants representing stakeholders from the 7 SheepNet countries who were joined by a delegation from Hungary. The meeting focused on sharing and exchange of solutions to improve sheep productivity. A total of 55 solutions from all partner countries were presented in 4 solution markets. Each solution market fostered interaction among delegates and provided opportunity to share knowledge and experiences. Each country had the opportunity to select solutions that would be relevant to improving sheep productivity in their respective countries. The consensus of the meeting was that solutions for many of the issues/problems influencing sheep productivity are readily available from other countries/regions across Europe. SheepNet will hold its next transnational workshop in Spain next June.

 

SheepNet is open to all EU countries, stakeholders, sheep producers. For further information:

 

 

SheepNet is an EU funded project on sheep productivity. Ewe productivity (number of lambs reared per ewe joined) is a combination of reproduction success, embryonic and lamb survival and litter size. SheepNet is designed to stimulate knowledge exchange between research and stakeholders to widely disseminate best practices and innovations, with the objective of increasing ewe productivity. SheepNet involves the 6 main EU sheep producing countries (Ireland, France, United Kingdom, Romania, Spain and Italy) and Turkey.

 

Why is ewe productivity important?

The EU is only 85% self-sufficient in sheep meat and is the largest importer of sheep meat worldwide. An increase in EU ewe productivity by 0.1 lambs reared per ewe joined would increase self-sufficiency in sheep meat to 92%. Ewe productivity is one of the main factors impacting on profitability of prime lamb production.

 

 

What has happened in the last 6 months?

Following the success of first transnational workshop which was held in Scotland last June SheepNet headed east to Romania for its second meeting. The workshop was attended by over 60 participants representing stakeholders from the 7 SheepNet countries who were joined by a delegation from Hungary. The meeting focused on sharing and exchange of solutions to improve sheep productivity by improving fertility rate, pregnancy success, management and animal factors that reduce lamb mortality. Solutions were presented by each country and had been chosen following intense discussion at their respective national workshops which were held in October. A total of 55 solutions, from all partner countries were presented in 4 solution markets. Participants from other countries had the opportunity to view all the solutions presented and select those that they believed would be of benefit to improving ewe productivity in their own country. Each solution market fostered interaction among delegates and provided opportunities to share knowledge and experiences. More information on all solutions, and videos of the presentation of some solutions, are available on the SheepNet website (www.sheepnet.network). These solutions will be evaluated in the coming months. The consensus of the meeting was that solutions for many of the issues/problems influencing sheep productivity are readily available from other countries/regions across Europe.

 

As part of the transnational workshop in Romania delegates visited two sheep farms and a dairy processing plant. The first farm had 1803 ewes which lambed 3 times every 2 years. The second farm had 1500 ewes involved in meat and cheese production. The dairy processing plant processed up to 70 thousand litres of milk daily producing cheese and yogurt from sheep, goat, buffalo and cow’s milk.

 

SheepNet will establish durable exchange of existing scientific and practical knowledge, innovative technologies and best practices which improve sheep productivity among farmers, advisors, consultants, researchers and other stakeholders.

 

SheepNet will hold its next transnational workshop in Spain next June. Stakeholders who are interested in participating can register on line on the SheepNet website.

 

SheepNet is open to all EU countries, stakeholders, sheep producers.

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