ADAPT-HERD : Management strategies to improve herd resilience and efficiency by harnessing the adaptive capacities of small ruminants

Project identifier 165-ADAPT-HERD
Project Status ongoing
Start date 2019-06-01
End date 2022-05-31
Roadmap Theme
  • Sustainable intensification: Identification and breeding of animals and crops to maintain/increase productivity
  • Sustainable intensification: Ecological intensification approaches
  • Type of Project Applied research project
    Type of Project Development and innovation oriented (research) project
    Programme PRIMA
    Keyword climate change adaption; sheep; goat; herd demography; feeding management
    Location France; Egypt; Tunisia; Spain
    Budget 634 945
    Main Funder Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD) (H2020)
    Coordinator Modélisation Systémique Appliquée aux Ruminants (MoSAR)
  • Mediterranean and Tropical Livestock Systems (SELMET)
  • Génétique Physiologie et Systèmes d’Elevage (GenPhySE)
  • Agrifood Research and Technology Centre of Aragon (CITA)
  • Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique de Tunisie (INRAT)
  • Ecole Superieure d'Agriculture du Kef (ESA Kef)
  • Animal Production Research Institute (APRI)
  • Project Web Site
    Documents PRIMA funded projects 2018



    The main effect of climate change on livestock production systems is to induce changes in resource availability. Rising temperatures and lower or unpredictable rainfall patterns decrease primary biomass production and thus forage availability. Improving resilience and efficiency at herd level will contribute to improve resilience and efficiency at the farm level and therefore will be a key element of adaptation of small ruminant systems to climate change. The challenge is to find strategies that are good enough in terms of efficiency, to ensure sufficient income for farmers, and also good enough in terms of resilience, to ensure farm sustainability. In other words, the challenge is not to find an optimal strategy for R&E, but to explore how management strategies impact the relationship between R&E. Small ruminants are recognized for having strong biological mechanisms to deal with constraining and fluctuating environmental conditions, particularly with respect to feeding resources. Such adaptive capacities can be fully integrated within management strategies to improve resilience and effi-ciency at the herd level.


    To develop management simulation tools to implement innovative strate-gies for resilience and efficiency in small ruminant herds, based on har-nessing animal adaptive capacities. These tools will address a wide range of current feed resource constraints in the Mediterranean area (Egypt, France, Spain and Tunisia) and the future perturbations induced by climate change. The locally tailored management solutions will improve the ability of livestock systems to adapt to climate change by: i) managing early-life nutrition to safeguard adult adaptive capacities; ii) managing reproduction to find the best match between feed supply and herd demand; iii) tailoring group feeding strategies depending on animals’ adaptive capacities and iv) managing herd demography with replacement and culling to adjust feed demand.

    Expected impacts

    The project will provide new information on animal adaptation and resil-ience due to the current and future Mediterranean environmental con-ditions through an improved understanding of the interaction between genotype and early-life environment on adult adaptive capacity. It will also provide technical solutions based on local breeds adaptive capacities, thus contributing to the valorisation of the local biodiversity. By assessing the effects of climate change scenarios on resilience and efficiency for various technical options, the project provides useful results to support decision in rural development pathways. Finally, it will deliver tools to enhance future innovation in the Mediterranean area with protocols to organize data collection and a common modelling architecture, based on a user-friendly toolbox.ment strategies for both current and future climates.