Blackdown Bio-logging Project

Just under 90 scanned in-lamb ewes were fitted with a collar holding a proximity sensor and an activity monitor. This will stay on for two weeks and then removed for data collection and initial analysis before two weeks late being refitted for a second fortnight of recording. Any health/welfare interventions will be recorded on farm. The ewes are fit but clearly have different phenotype characteristics. They range in age from 18 months to 9 years old with 13 different sires from 9 different recorded flocks.

The plan is to continue this through lambing, identifying health and welfare aspects and any impact on production. It will also prove that the technology works, the process on farm is manageable and that the varying companies (UK and Italy based) and academic staff (University of Exeter) combinations work. The University of Exeter bid for a PhD placement linked to the project was successful and will be involved later.

The project is funded by the companies involved and this farm, with complete University of Exeter commitment, further demonstrating the commercial drive behind the research.  A next stage would be to add the genomic component with a wider population of farms and stock.

James Winrow