Attitudes of European small ruminant farmers towards new digital technologies

A McLaren*, Laurence Depuille, Nuphar Katzman, Alon Bar-Shamai, Ilan Halachmi, Lise Grova, Tim Keady, Brid McClearn, Valeria Giovanetti, Peep Piirsalu, Orsyola Nagi, Jean-Marc Gautier, Fiona Kenyon, C Morgan-Davies

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Despite continued advances in the application of precision livestock farming (PLF) tools and digital technologies associated with some livestock species, small ruminant production industries often still lag behind. Before attempting
to improve the profitability of these production systems (both meat and dairy), through the increased uptake of PLF tools and digital technologies, it is necessary to assess the current needs and barriers of implementation. An online
survey was launched in April 2021 across all countries (and languages) participating in the Sm@RT: Small Ruminant Technologies project (UK, Ireland, France, Norway, Hungary, Italy, Estonia and Israel). The aim was to assess the
opinions and needs of sheep and goat farmers and other stakeholders regarding the use and uptake of PLF tools and digital technologies on farm and beyond the farm gate. After data quality checks, a total of 669 surveys were included
in the analyses, 68% of which were completed by farmers, shepherds or farm workers across the meat sheep, dairy sheep and dairy goat sectors. The most popular tools already used on farms related to flock management (weigh crate, 40%; flock/herd management software, 35%). Virtual fences ranked highest on the list of those deemed to be the most beneficial tool to their system. More details will be covered in this paper. Overall, the data has provided an invaluable insight into the needs and priorities of various stakeholders within the sheep and goat industries across the participating countries. It has also provided important information on the current level of technology in use as well as identifying barriers to uptake. Although production type brought some differences, there were notable commonalities across all the different participants
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts of the 73rd Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)978-90-8686-937-4
ISBN (Print)978-90-8686-385-3
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Sept 2022
Event73rd Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science - Porto, Portugal
Duration: 5 Sept 20228 Sept 2022


Conference73rd Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science


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