European Sheep Production must be underpinned by environmentally sustainable and welfare friendly practices which are profitable and labour efficient for farmers, thus encompassing all 3 pillars of the sustainability triangle: economic competitiveness, environment and society. Sheep are unproductive (but carbon productive) until they produce their 1st lamb crop, and often only produce 4 crops of lambs in their lifetime. Despite its importance both from an economic and environmental perspective ewe longevity is not included in sheep breeding indexes across Europe. Parallel to this, European sheep production systems are varied in production types (meat vs milk), breeds (prolific vs non-prolific) and management systems (use of Electronic Identification technology, breeding indexes and/or artificial insemination). It is paramount to identify the most carbon and labour efficient production systems in order to enable the development of strategies to reduce the labour input and carbon hoof print per kg of output. Moreover, in order to breed more efficient sheep, developing a more sociably acceptable sheep artificial insemination method, which farmers could use themselves, is essential. This paper presents ‘SusSheP’, a project funded under European Research Area Network Sustainable Animal Production Framework (ERA NET SusAn), which investigates these three topics between 4 countries (Ireland, UK, Norway and France). This paper focuses on the effects on labour (measured on sample days in each country during the sheep year using GoPro cameras) and carbon hoofprint (using AgreCalc ©) when changing from one sheep production system to another. SusSheP will give farmers better indications on how to make their own system more sustainable, thus ensuring uptake across the farming industry in Europe.
|Conference||EAAP 69th Annual Meeting|
|Period||27/08/18 → 31/08/18|