NEIKER-Tecnalia organizes a conference to share experiences on improving the productivity of sheep

They are part of the European SheepNet project and more than 70 people from 10 countries are expected to attend

The Agri-Food Campus of NEIKER-Tecnalia in Arkaute (Alava-Spain) hosted from June 13 to 15 a transnational work meeting of the European project Sheepnet, which aimed to exchange solutions to improve the productivity of sheep. This is the third workshop of the project, after those held in Edinburgh (Scotland) and Timisoara (Romania) during the past year.

The project, which allows to share solutions aimed at improving the productivity of sheep, increasing fertility, the success of pregnancies, and reducing the mortality of lambs, began in November 2016. Since that date, a diagnosis of the situation of sheep production systems in the seven participating countries has been carried out (France, Italy, United Kingdom, Ireland, Romania, Spain and Turkey). In this period the main challenges, problems and needs for the improvement of productivity have been identified, as well as possible solutions. Subsequently, 55 possible solutions have been compiled for these problems affecting the productivity of sheep throughout the EU and Turkey.

At the Arkaute meeting, in which NEIKER-Tecnalia acts as organizer and host, the tips, tricks and skills identified to implement the solutions that can improve the productivity of sheep were shared. For this, the participation of farmers and ranchers and agents of the sector in the activities carried out during these last months in each of these European countries had been essential, as well as some contributions from Australia and New Zealand. The tips and tricks are available on the project website (http://sheepnet.network ), translated into the languages ​​of the participating countries, and illustrated with photos and even videos, in order to widely disseminate best practices and innovations .

The attendance of more than seventy participants representing agents from the seven SheepNet partner countries, who will be joined by representatives from the sheep sector of Hungary, Portugal and Germany, contributed to the success of the meeting.

As part of the transnational workshop, they visited a flock of dairy sheep of the Latxa breed and Idiazabal certificate of origin cheese maker , which integrates the innovative herd network formed within the framework of the project and which actively participates in the activities carried out. In addition, a herd of meat sheep and the experimental herd of dairy sheep of the Latxa breed of Neiker-Tecnalia were visited.

On the other hand, the Interprofesional of the Ovine and Goat of Meat -INTEROVIC- presented the situation of sheep meat sctor in Spain, and the activities that realize to improve its competitiveness. Speakin of the Spanish situation, two consolidated and reference initiatives were presented, such as the Artzai Eskola-School of Shepherds of Aranzazu and ARDIEKIN, with the breeding program for the Latxa sheep. NEIKER-Tecnalia also presented the main R & D & I activities developed to improve the sustainability of the sheep sector, with special attention to the completed LIFE projects (SEEDCAPITAL and REGEN FARMING).

In this way, SheepNet seeks to contribute to generating a lasting exchange of existing scientific and practical knowledge, innovative technologies and best practices that contribute to increasing the productivity of sheep among livestock farmers, research staff and other interested agents.

SheepNet is open to all farmers and sectoral agents of EU countries. For further information: www.sheepnet.network