SRUC involved in three EU projects
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