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Pilot Action: Sheep Farm Consulting
16th November 2016

The first pilot action entailed the training and consulting of a young farmer. Domna Zerva was born in Perni Kavalas in September 1988. As her family was involved in farming and agriculture she decided to study International Business with specialization in Agrotourism at Perrotis College of the American Farm School. After completing her studies in June 2011 she returned back to her village and got involved in sheep farming. In 2014 she entered the EU co-funded program for young farmers with 100 ewes and 20 acres of land. Today she owns 180 adult animals aiming to double their population within the next two years.  Domna as a young farmer is going to need all possible guidance and support in order to successfully retain and expand her business.

Animal husbandry is probably the most demanding sector of agriculture with various aspects that need to be considered especially from farmers at their early stages. Animal nutrition is one of them since it plays a vital role in the overall productivity, health, and well-being of sheep. Because feed costs account for a large cost of production on sheep farms, it is important that producers consider nutrition management a top priority. Over-nutrition and using costly feedstuffs and ingredients, is expensive and undesirable. At the same time, under-nutrition is also expensive due to lost productivity. Therefore, it is important to develop a nutritional management program that optimizes production while minimizing feed costs.

In this context, the aim of the program is the transfer of knowledge; training and adoption of methodologies that will help Domna improve her animal management techniques and increase the milk production. This was achieved by on-site visits in order to monitor the currently applied practices and introduce new feed combinations that will improve productivity.

Upon completion of the project, the beneficiary was able to manage the nutritional inputs of her herd in such a way as to maximize the quality and quantity of milk output with the minimum necessary cost; thereby ensuring the financial viability of her farm. 

Scientific Coordinator: Dr Evdokia Krystallidou

Watch the video here.

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