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

Student exchange at INRAE (France)

– by A. Walker (SRUC)

Photo credit: Jean-Baptiste Menassol

Aimee Walker ( is in the 2nd year of her PhD, based at SRUC’s Hill and Mountain Research Centre near Crianlarich in Scotland. Aimee’s PhD is exploring Precision Livestock Farming technologies which could improve small ruminant management and welfare in grazing systems, particularly investigating the use of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) as a means of monitoring the ewe-lamb relationship.

Aimee recently undertook a 4-week exchange with INRAE (in the South of France) where she was welcomed to the lab UMR SELMET (INRAE – Institut Agro Montpellier), to present and discuss the different tools and technologies being trialled and collaborate on potential data analysis techniques and social network methodology which could be applied to the analysis of Aimee’s experimental data. During the exchange Aimee additionally spent time at the experimental domain of La Fage to visit study sites being used in trials and observe some of the technologies such as the WoW, as well as participate in on-going protocols. Aimee was also able to take part in the implementation of the 1st stages of a protocol within Mercantour National Park in the French Alps, and the collection of animal movement and behavioural data. This protocol is designed to deploy a LoRa Network in remote areas to connect embedded digital devices, particularly connecting a GNSS module to transmit in near real-time localization data from sheep and associated welfare alerts (such as a sick or lost sheep, or abnormal movements that could indicate a predator attack).

Photo credit: Jean-Baptiste Menassol