Document type: Scientific review published in Animals
Authors: Severiano R. Silva, Laura Sacarrão-Birrento, Mariana Almeida, David M. Ribeiro, Cristina Guedes, José Ramiro González Montaña, Alfredo F. Pereira, Konstantinos Zaralis, Ana Geraldo, Ouranios Tzamaloukas, Marta González Cabrera, Noemí Castro, Anastasio Argüello, Lorenzo E. Hernández-Castellano, Ángel J. Alonso-Diez, María J. Martín, Luis G. Cal-Pereyra, George Stilwell, André M. de Almeida
Preview: Sheep and goat extensive production systems are very important in the context of global food security and the use of rangelands that have no alternative agricultural use. In such systems, there are enormous challenges to address. These include, for instance, classical production issues, such as nutrition or reproduction, as well as carbon-efficient systems within the climate-change context. An adequate response to these issues is determinant to economic and environmental sustainability. The answers to such problems need to combine efficiently not only the classical production aspects, but also the increasingly important health, welfare, and environmental aspects in an integrated fashion. The purpose of the study was to review the application of technological developments, in addition to remote-sensing in tandem with other state-of-the-art techniques that could be used within the framework of extensive production systems of sheep and goats and their impact on nutrition, production, and ultimately, the welfare of these species. In addition to precision livestock farming (PLF), these include other relevant technologies, namely omics and other areas of relevance in small-ruminant extensive production: heat stress, colostrum intake, passive immunity, newborn survival, biomarkers of metabolic disease diagnosis, and parasite resistance breeding. This work shows the substantial, dynamic nature of the scientific community to contribute to solutions that make extensive production systems of sheep and goats more sustainable, efficient, and aligned with current concerns with the environment and welfare.