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

TechCare 3rd Annual Meeting

– by C. Morgan-Davies (SRUC)

TechCare held its annual meeting in Toro, Spain, on the 19th and 20th of February 2024. Up to 50 people from the 19 consortium partners all met over the two days. Partners from the UK (MRI, Breedr), France (IDELE, CNBL, INRAe, Agdatahub), Italy (AGRIS, EAAP, Abinsula), Israel (ARO, Spark), Norway (NIBIO), Spain (UAB, Oviaragón), Greece (ELGO-DIMITRA), Ireland (Teagasc) and Romania (BUAS), led by SRUC (UK), discussed the progress of the project over the last 3 years, and the future plans for the next 2 years. Four advisory members (from Spain and the UK) also joined in the discussion (three of them via Zoom) and gave their feedback to the project team. The 2 TechCare PhD students (Aimee Walker and Michelle Reeves, SRUC) also presented their work. The annual meeting has been organized locally by the Spanish partners from UAB. The project is progressing well, with the welfare issues in small ruminant systems having been prioritised by stakeholders at the start of the project, followed by an inventory of potential precision livestock farming (PLF) tools that could help monitor or manage these welfare issues. Trials and prototyping of some of the identified PLF tools are near completion on pilot farms and on experimental farms, and data exchanges and manipulation, to develop early warning systems, are now ongoing. Deployment and further testing of the retained tools are being set up on commercial farms in Europe (Ireland, France, Romania, Greece and Spain). Discussions and feedback were essential at this stage, and it was extremely beneficial to meet once again in person to ensure the whole consortium is ready for the final steps of the project, due to finish in August 2025. Overall, a very fruitful meeting for the project in a very sunny Spain, and the wonderful hospitality of our Spanish colleagues!