Eblex research projects look to reduce soya footprint of UK sheep

Two Eblex-funded projects will assess whether the level of soya bean meal (SBM) used in sheep diets can be replaced with alternative proteins to create a more sustainable sector.

Just 3% of the SBM used in British animal feed is used for sheep diets, representing only 0.02% of world production. However, diets for preganant ewes and creep feed for lambs include soya, and Eblex is looking to replace the imported feed.

Kim Matthews, Eblex head of research & development, said: Although the beef and sheep industry in Great Britain uses only a small amount of soya, we are continually looking at ways to reduce reliance on imported feedstuffs as part of the drive to improve the overall sustainability of the sector.

The first study, which will be run by Scotlands Rural College (SRUC) and Harper Adams University, will evaluate whether original 1970s ewe ration recommendations are still valid. The second, conducted by environmental consultancy ADAS, will study the effectiveness of a grass silage- and fodder beet-based total mixed ration (TMR) on pregnant ewes.

Matthews said: Helping English beef and sheep farmers reduce their carbon footprint and mitigate the impact of climate change is a key focus of our research and development work.

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