Cappio Borlino, Aldo and Portolano, Baldassare and Todaro, Massimo and Macciotta, Nicolò Pietro Paolo and Giaccone, Pietro and Pulina, Giuseppe (1997) Lactation curves of Valle del Belice dairy ewes for yields of milk, fat, and protein estimated with test day models. Journal of Dairy Science, Vol. 80 (11), p. 3023-3029. eISSN 1525-3198. Article.
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Test day models were used to estimate the lactation curves for Valle del Belice ewes and to study the main environmental effects on milk yield and on percentage of fat and protein. Environmental effects were treated as fixed. A random effect was associated with each lactation to evaluate the mean correlation among all test day records of an individual ewe. Lactation curves were constructed by adding solutions for classes of either days in milk nested within parity or days in milk nested within season of lambing to appropriate general means. Parity primarily affected the lactation curve for milk yield, which was lower and flatter for first lambing ewes; effects on fat and protein were smaller. Season of lambing affected all traits. Seasonal productivity had the greatest effect on milk composition, resulting in an imbalance between fat and protein percentages. Flock and feed supplementation affected only the lactation curve for milk yield. The lactation curve of Valle del Belice ewes stood at a relatively high level. However, the presence of notable, perturbative effects (environmental and random variation) on milk yield and composition suggests that management is unable to meet the requirements of ewes consistently.
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