Small ruminant farming systems are important to the sustainability of many European rural communities. Despite recent advances in digital technologies to improve farm practices, uptake by small ruminant stakeholders has been low. Sm@RT (Sm@ll Ruminant Technology) is a Horizon 2020 funded project, involving 8 countries. Sm@RT established focus groups in each country to assess the technology/innovative tool needs of producers regarding 6 topics and proposed solutions. The main needs identified by topic were: 1) grazing/feeding: issues of forage/pasture quality, fencing; 2) for health and welfare: early detection of health issues and diseases and early diagnosis of mastitis; 3) for reproduction: how to optimise AI, animal selection and early pregnancy diagnosis; 4) for herd/flock management: issues of batch management; 5) for fattening: lamb weighing and 6) for milking, milking machine maintenance. There were differences in the identified needs between countries and system of production (dairy sheep, dairy goats and meat sheep). The 8 Sm@RT countries identified 50 solutions that were subsequently voted by stakeholders during a transnational workshop. Some of the preferred solutions included EID weigh-crate and auto-sorter, milk feeders for kids/lambs, data recording system, automated grass measuring, and milk meters and milking management software. Sm@RT has identified farmers’ needs, and identified many existing tools that could help them if adopted and will encourage uptake.
|Title of host publication||Book of Abstracts of the 74th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science|
|Place of Publication||Wageningen|
|Publisher||Wageningen Academic Publishers|
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Print publication - 28 Aug 2023|