Monitoring of selected milk qualityMonitoring of selected milk qualityparameters during lactation ofa Mediterranean dairy sheep breed
Bontinis T.G. et al.
- Riferimento: Large Animal Review 2017; 23: 185-188
- Abstract: Introduction - Sheep and goats are the most efficient transformers of low quality forage into high quality animal products (milk and meat) with distinguished characteristics. Sheep and goat milk production in several Mediterranean countries is mainly taking place in less favoured, rural and mountainous areas. In Greece, sheep production is of high importance for mountainous, arid, semi-mountainous and semi-arid areas, in which sheep are exploited under extensive or semi-extensive management regimes. In those areas, the use of autochthonous breeds is preferred. Arta sheep breed (known as Frizarta) is a local breed reared in the North-Western areas of Greece. Milk composition is a key factor that influences milk quality, and in turn the ratio processed dairy products and farm economics. Material and methods - The aim of the present study was to monitor selected milk quality parameters during lactation of the Arta sheep breed in a less favoured, rural and mountainous area of North-Western Greece. A total of 840 randomly selected ewes from the Arta breed (8 different flocks), managed under semi-extensive production system, were examined during several lactation stages (months) over three consecutive years. Milk was analysed for somatic cell count and fat, protein, lactose, solids-non-fat content. Results and discussion - Lactation stage significantly altered milk composition but not somatic cell count. Lactose was negatively correlated with somatic cell count as well as fat and protein content and positively with solids-non-fat content. There was a negative correlation between somatic cell count and solids-non-fat content. The average annual milk yield for the first, second and third year was 250, 260 and 280 kg respectively with no statistical significant differences among years. Conclusions - The results indicate that milk quality of the Arta breed is good. The good milk quality can support the production of local traditional cheeses. Locally made dairy products of added value can in turn positively affect the income of farmers and contribute to the endurance of rural human population in less favoured areas.
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