EuroSheep – stakeholders identify issues to improve flock health and nutrition

EuroSheep is an EU-funded thematic network to encourage knowledge exchange on flock nutrition, health and management between European sheep sector stakeholders in many countries.

The first EuroSheep TransNational WorkShop took place recently, virtually. Delegates from Ireland, France, UK, Spain, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Turkey, encompassing both meat and milk sheep systems of production participated in the virtual workshop.

EuroSheep - stakeholders identify issues to improve flock health and nutrition

Delegates from Ireland, France, UK, Spain, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Turkey participated in the first EuroSheep TransNational WorkShop which took place virtually.

Speaking following the event, Dr Tim Keady, Teagasc sheep researcher based in Athenry, Co Galway, Ireland said: “The aim of this workshop was to discuss what are the main needs, issues and challenges of stakeholders involved in sheep production in relation to nutrition, health and management of their flocks in the EuroSheep countries. These needs/challenges had been identified in an online survey undertaken by stakeholders from across Europe, including farmers, advisors, veterinarians, researchers. The stakeholders were asked about their needs/challenges relating to sheep and lamb nutrition, ewe and lamb health, and flock management.”

The Needs/challenges identified by stakeholders were similar across many countries. For example, in relation to ewe nutrition, from a choice of 12 options, Irish farmers identified grazing management, knowledge of nutrient requirements, mineral and vitamin supplementation and forage feed value as their 4 main needs/challenges. Meanwhile all other EuroSheep countries identified knowledge of nutrient requirements, grazing management, forage feed value and mineral and vitamin supplementation as their 4 main needs. For lamb nutrition the main needs identified were grazing management, lamb performance targets and knowledge of nutrient requirements.

The main needs/challenges identified by Irish farmers, many of which are similar to many countries, for ewe and lamb health were lameness, internal parasites and clostridial diesases. Mastitis and joint ill were also identified as major needs/challenges in ewe and lamb health, respectively.

The main needs/ challenges identified for flock management were flock health plans, anthelmintic resistance, and sheep shed management.

Dr Keady said: “The next step of EuroSheep is to identify solutions and ‘tips and tricks’ to respond to these needs/challenges identified by stakeholders in all EuroSheep countries. Each country will identify best practices that could address the needs/challenges identified by stakeholders in other EuroSheep partner countries. Thus a true cross-exchange approach is been employed.”

The next transnational workshop will be the opportunity for farmers to select the best solutions, before testing them on their own farms – which is the true test of any technology.


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