On 5th November 2014 the Countryside and Agriculture Interdisciplinary Research Network (CAIRN) held a seminar at Harper Adams University (HAU) focused on hill sheep management and new technology.

The seminar was chaired by Professor Peter Kettlewell (Harper Adams University), and the speakers included: Professor Karen Sayer (Leeds Trinity University) on the cultural history of hill sheep; Dr Lois Mansfield (University of Cumbria) on approaches to improve sustainability of hill farming; Dr Tony Waterhouse (SRUC) on hill sheep management in relation to foraging; Dr Mark Rutter (HAU) on potential of new technology for creating a ‘virtual shepherd’; Dr Richard Green (HAU) on features of drones potentially useful in hill sheep management; Dr Tom Norton (HAU) on types of sensors which might be exploited to manage hill sheep.

The conclusion from the seminar was that an interdisciplinary research project would lead to an improved understanding of how best to use new technology in hill sheep management. This would help to maintain sheep farming in the hills and the associated environmental benefits, despite low economic returns.

Presentations from the seminar are available below, and future collaborative research projects are currently being discussed.

The hefted ewe – history
Geography of hefting
SRUC and Sheep hefting
2014 Ruminant spatial foraging
UAS research at HA
Sensors in Hefting