SRUC in­volved in three EU projects

The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands) - - NEWS -

We have a long his­tory at Kirk­ton and Auchteryre of as­sess­ing the po­ten­tial of tech­ni­cal im­prove­ments to boost the pro­duc­tiv­ity and ef­fi­ciency of hill farm­ing.

As well as mea­sur­ing the eco­nomic and per­for­mance ben­e­fits we also need to as­sess the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts of any man­age­ment changes and any trade-offs there may be with other as­pects of farm pro­duc­tion.

This Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment re­search also pro­vides us with a strong base from which to build other projects, and we have been very suc­cess­ful in win­ning three EU projects, all with a fo­cus on im­prov­ing live­stock system sus­tain­abil­ity.

The first, called Sheep­Net, is an EU-funded project led by Idele, the French Live­stock In­sti­tute. There are seven part­ners com­pris­ing the six main EU sheep-pro­duc­ing coun­tries – Spain, UK , Ro­ma­nia, Italy, France and Ire­land – to­gether with Turkey. Sheep­Net is about pro­mot­ing the im­ple­men­ta­tion and dis­sem­i­na­tion of in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies and best prac­tices for im­prov­ing sheep pro­duc­tiv­ity.

The sec­ond, called SusSheP, is be­ing led by the Univer­sity of Lim­er­ick in Ire­land, with ad­di­tional Ir­ish, French and Nor­we­gian par tners toge ther with our­selves here at Cri­an­larich and SRUC ge­neti­cists. The project aim is to in­crease the sus­tain­abil­ity and prof­itabil­ity of Euro­pean sheep pro­duc­tion, par­tic­u­larly with re­gard to ewe longevity, labour and car­bon hoof­print on ex­ten­sive sheep farms.

The other, called An­i­mal Fu­ture, is led by INRA in France and in­volves part­ners from Aus­tria, Ger­many, the Nether­lands, Por­tu­gal and Spain, as well as our­selves.

This project is fo­cused on de­sign­ing in­no­va­tive strate­gies for as­sess­ing and en­hanc­ing the sus­tain­abil­ity of an­i­mal pro­duc­tion sys­tems.

We will con­duct case stud­ies of hill sheep sys­tems in Scotland to iden­tify in­no­va­tive op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove sus­tain­abil­ity and ways to ad­dress any con­straints to do­ing that.

Ta k e n t o g e t h e r, t h i s clus­ter of projects helps set Scotland in a wider Euro­pean con­text and high­lights that SRUC is still – and will con­tinue to be – very linked into Europe.

Just as im­por­tantly, in­creas­ing the sus­tain­abil­ity of Scot­tish hill farm­ing sys­tems will be vi­tal if they are to sur­vive go­ing for­ward.

Our in­volve­ment in these projects will en­sure that our work con­tin­ues to be at the cut­ting edge of high­light­ing how this can be achieved in prac­tice.

HI-TECH BOOST: Sheep­Net, with the six main EU sheep-pro­duc­ing coun­tries tak­ing part, will look at in­no­va­tive tech­nolo­gies for im­prov­ing sheep pro­duc­tiv­ity

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