Sm@RT: Identifying sheep and goats farmers' technological needs and potential solutions

C Morgan-Davies, Laurence Depuille, Jean-Marc Gautier, A McLaren, Timothy W.J. Keady, Brid McClearn, Lise Grova, Peep Piirsalu, Valeria Giovanetti, Ilan Halachmi, Alon Bar-Shamai, Renata Klein, Fiona Kenyon, Irene Llach-Martinez

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


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.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBook of Abstracts of the 74th Annual Meeting of the European Federation of Animal Science
Place of PublicationWageningen
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
Number of pages1
ISBN (Print)978-90-8686-384-6
Publication statusPrint publication - 28 Aug 2023


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