What are the main challenges to improve flock profitability in Ireland and Europe?

Tim Keady*, Roberto Ruiz, Ina Beltrán De Heredia, Antonello Carta, Istvan Monori, Christina Ligda, C Morgan-Davies, Sezen Ocak Yetisgin, Pierre-Guillaume Grisot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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Application There are similar challenges to improving sheep profitability across Europe. EuroSheep will identify appropriate solutions to improve sheep profitability across Europe based on the results of this survey.

Introduction Eurosheep is an EU/international Thematic Network (grant agreement No. 863056) designed to stimulate knowledge, best practice and innovation exchange between stakeholders with the objective of increasing flock profitability. The objective of this paper is to present results of a survey undertaken in 8 countries to identify what are the main challenges/needs to improve sheep health and nutrition, thus flock profitability.

Material and methods From May to July 2020, a survey was circulated online to stakeholders, in their own language, involved in sheep production in Eurosheep countries (Ireland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Turkey and UK). The respondents were asked to rank, in order of importance, a maximum of five main challenges/needs regarding nutrition of adult sheep (choice of 12 options), lambs (10 options) and replacements (9 options); health of adult sheep/replacements (12 options) and lambs (10 options); and flock health and nutrition management issues (12 options). A score was assigned as follows: the first choice (most important) was scored 5 to the fifth choice (least important) scored 1. The final rank of challenges/needs was based on the sum of the scores.

Results A total of 1163 surveys were completed. The respondents were classified into three groups, namely, Europe (Eur; France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Turkey and UK), Ireland farmers (IE-F, n = 125) and Ireland other (IE-O, n = 38). The main challenges/needs identified to improve ewe and lamb nutrition, health, and flock management are presented in Table 1, Table 2, Table 3, Table 4, Table 5. There was general agreement among the 3 categories of respondents on the main challenges/needs in nutrition, health, and management to improve flock profitability. Knowledge of nutrient requirement, forage feed value, grazing management, mineral nutrition and lamb performance targets were the main challenges identified for nutrition. Multi species swards were not identified as an important issue. Internal parasites, lameness, clostridial diseases, respiratory disorders and joint ill were the main health challenges. Flock health plan, anthelmintic resistance and sheep shed management were the main management challenges identified.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAnimal - science proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationThe Challenge of Change The New Normal?
Place of PublicationEssex
PublisherBritish Society of Animal Science
Number of pages1
ISBN (Print)ISSN: 2772-283X
Publication statusPrint publication - 19 Apr 2021
EventBritish Society of Animal Science 2021 - Online
Duration: 12 Apr 202115 Apr 2021
Conference number: BSAS


ConferenceBritish Society of Animal Science 2021


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