KTIF Final Report Live Lambs – Improving Lamb Survival and Farm Profitability
A project delivered by SAC Consulting and funded by the Scottish Government Knowledge Transfer Innovation Fund. Project Leaders – Kirsten Williams and Poppy Frater, SAC Consulting.
- EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The aim of our three year project was to identify the main barriers to achieve an increase in the average number of lambs reared per ewe and identify solutions which improve farm profitability and viability, enhance animal welfare and reduce the carbon footprint in sheep enterprises.
To achieve this we monitored seven focus farmers over the three year period (2016-2019), who were chosen over the main sheep areas of Scotland including lowland, upland and hill operations, indoor and outdoor lambing and various geographical challenges. In the original tender, we set out to involve five farms, but added an additional two, one being the SRUC hill and mountain research centre at Crianlarich, the other being a Northern English farm; these were funded through Horizon2020 (SheepNet) and AHDB Beef and Lamb respectively.
The project facilitators worked with the focus farmers and collected sheep production figures to analyse any trends, issues or progress from the project. These were shared with a wider group of forward thinking sheep farmers (42 members) who offered their expertise to the focus farmers. As well as farmers this included invited project partners from industry (MSD Animal Health, East Coast Viners, Rumenco and Norvite). An operational group was set up to oversee the project including, the two facilitators and programme manager from SAC Consulting, SRUC researcher Cathy Dwyer, Veterinary Investigation Officer, Marion MacMillan and a leading sheep farmer, Graham Lofthouse to steer the project management.
The focus farmers, along with the wider group met twice per year, for a total of eight times over the project lifetime, to discuss the findings from the focus farms and exchange knowledge in ways to enhance performance, while ensuring the welfare of the animal was paramount in any decisions made.
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