Integrating innovative TECHnologies along the value Chain to improve small ruminant welfARE management

Is it possible to use the Walk-over-Weighing (WoW) in sheep identified with ruminal boluses?

By Eliel González-García

In the scope of a collaboration looking to put in place the Walk-over-Weighing (WoW) platform under the farming conditions of the local Sarda sheep flock (Sardinia, Italy), Irene Llach Martínez (Engineer Assistant in TechCare, INRAE team) was received in November (3rd to 5th) by the local AGRIS team. She was welcomed by Giovanni Molle, Valeria Giovanetti, Fabrizio Chessa, Mauro Decandia, Marco Acciaro and other collaborators with whom discussions and small in situ actions were undertaken in the farm. The objective of the mission was to share the INRAE’s acquired experience with the WoW in order to start setting the required conditions for the acquisition by AGRIS of a new prototype in the following months, to be evaluated in the scope of TechCare activities (WP3 and 5). One of the main challenges was to check the possibility of evaluating in the future the WoW with animals identified with ruminal boluses, which is the case in the AGRIS farm. The French WoW prototype has never been tested until now using such identification tool. The EID of the local Sarda flock is performed using ruminal boluses, applied when they are 6 months old. The Irene’s mission allowed to check the necessary details required by the local team in order to enable the good, effective and dynamic individuals reading by the WoW equipment when weighing Sarda sheep identified with boluses. To do it, a series of tests were performed at Bonassi pilot farm. Several dynamic readings were performed. The adequate reading of ruminal boluses was achieved with the material available in the farm, as was the transmission of information to the WOW2 indicator. An additional in silico test (without animals) was performed once back to Montpellier (France), parametrising the XRP2 permitting the reading of several units of the boluses (FDX and HDX) brought from Sardinia. The results were once again correct. The mission also allowed to start discussing about the best position of the WoW prototype in the farm facilities, which will be a key point in the experiments to be performed by the AGRIS team in the next future. It was also an opportunity to reinforce our links for enhancing further collaborations between these two TechCare partners.