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In the last 6 months, there has been a series of interesting developments in the EU network on sheep productivity – called SheepNet – in which SRUC is one of seven core partners.

Prof Cathy Dwyer from Animal Veterinary Science, Dr Claire Morgan-Davies from Future Farming Systems Hill & Mountain Research Centre and Poppy Frater from SAC Consulting are heavily involved in the project.

The first UK national workshop was held at Carfraemill near Edinburgh back in May, and was attended by a range of stakeholders from various farmers’ sheep groups (KTIF Livelambs, SAC Sheep Group, Maternal Sheep Group) as well as scientists and a vet.

The main challenges, issues and needs influencing sheep productivity were discussed. The consensus of the meeting was that the three main issues influencing effective reproduction were the effects of ewe body condition score, nutrition/grassland management and flock health status.

Following on from this event, an international workshop was held at Kings Building in Edinburgh in June. Thirty-five participants from the 7 countries participating in SheepNet exchanged knowledge on the production systems and issues influencing sheep productivity within their own countries.

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