Smart Sheep 

Driving digital innovation to advance worm control in sheep

Helping farmers reduce their reliance of parasiticides is important not only to help protect drugs from resistance for future use, but also to control costs and the wastes of unnecessary treatment.

One of Elanco’s Ruminant Technical Consultants in the UK has contributed to the Smart Sheep feasibility project, funded by the UK’s national innovation agency Innovate UK and lead by the Moredun Research Institute in collaboration with other partners.

This project used existing precision livestock farming technology like EID tags (Electronic Identification) and readers, electronic scales and automated handling equipment, and integrated the technology with the “Happy Factor” algorithm to enable selective treatment of individual animals based on their predicted daily liveweight gain.

Previously farmers had relied on worm control treatment of entire flocks but can now use anthelminthic products in a more targeted way, treating only the individual animals that need treating and at the correct time. As a result, worm control and growth rates are improved while reducing the selection pressure for anthelminthic resistance in the parasite population.

The group have already built a feasible platform prototype and identified a gap between current farmer and adviser capabilities with this technology. Closing this gap and fully implementing the solution in the field is in progress for 2022 and beyond.

We’re very excited to see some more results later in the year.

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