This project addresses the adoption of precision livestock farming (PLF) technologies in sheep farming. PLF has been widely adopted in the management of high-value animals e.g. dairy cattle, but is not currently applied to those with lower economic value, e.g. sheep, despite the production efficiencies that can be achieved. In the UK, there are around 23.3 million sheep, including 14.7 million breeding ewes worth approximately £690 million to the economy. Since 2010, all individual sheep in the UK are equipped with EID (Electronic Identification) ear-tags, further paving the way for use of PLF technologies. However, uptake of EID equipment for sheep management is a major issue. A recent survey of European sheep farmers showed that only 38% of farmers have any EID equipment, which are rarely used for sheep management.
Likewise, in the UK, a survey of PLF technology adoption showed that 55% of farmers did not have and did not intend to adopt EID technology for management purposes.
The project consortium will engage with end-users (members of the farming community and farming advisors) early in the project, to increase the uptake of PLF on-farm. We will use one proven PLF tool (TST algorithm); an existing pen-side tool to optimise lamb worming, using an algorithm for the early identification of under-performing lambs.