– by E. Sossidou (ELGA-DIMITRA)
During the 73rd EAAP Annual Meeting held in Porto last September, the PLF Commission nominated the TechCare poster “Stakeholders’ perceptions of precision livestock farming to improve small ruminant welfare” as best poster! This poster presents TechCare stakeholders’ attitudes towards precision livestock farming tools to improve animal welfare in small ruminant production. The opinions of stakeholders were taken into account after consultations, following a multi-actor approach. The OPERA method was used to reach consensus between stakeholders. Overall, stakeholders’ opinions appear rather uniform. Regarding meat sheep, the highest appreciated PLF tool was the automated weighing and low frequency identification (LF) system, followed by localisation (GPS) and 3-axial accelerometers, as well as new ultra-high-frequency (UHF) eartags and readers for several uses (e.g. water intake). The most suitable PLF tools selected for dairy sheep were environmental-air quality sensors (e.g. weather stations), followed by automated milk recording, LF and automatic weighing. As for dairy goats, in addition to those selected for dairy sheep, the new UHF eartags and readers were prioritized. Regardless of the production system, the most important traits of selected PLF tools were low cost and ease-of-use.