Ireland is one of seven European countries, including Estonia, France, Hungary, Italy, Norway and the UK, along with Israel, to partake in a new EU-funded project named Sm@rt (Small Ruminant Technologies).
The aim of Sm@rt is to increase the awareness of those working in the sheep and goat sectors to newly available precision livestock farming (PLF) tools and to demonstrate their potential to improve productivity and labour efficiency, while also exhibiting the possible return on investment from adopting these new technologies.
The project will use a variety of methods to facilitate productive knowledge exchange within the European small ruminant community, working with a wide range of stakeholders, including those operating well-equipped demonstration farms (‘digifarms’) and innovative commercial farms.
By drawing upon the valuable input and knowledge of farmers and passing it on to their peers, the hope is that it will increase uptake of PLF tools across the industry.
Exchange of ideas
Sm@RT aims to use a step-by-step approach to ensure that the relevant people are involved at the right stages to facilitate and enable discussion and the exchange of ideas in a trusting environment.
It is intended to use these discussions to motivate IT companies to develop further practical, cost-effective, digital solutions for the sheep and goat sectors.
The lead researcher in Ireland is Dr Tim Keady, Teagasc Athenry. Tim is seeking the opinions of farmers and stakeholders on PLF tools.
These opinions will be used by the Sm@rt project team to understand the main challenges, requirements and interests along the sheep and goat production chain and allow the team to concentrate their efforts in providing relevant information.
A survey to collate farmer and stakeholder feedback is available at https://bit.ly/3sI0Eni.
The final submissions are being sought, with the survey timeline closing in the next week.