Piras, Marco and Ligios, Sebastiano and Sitzia, Maria and Fois, Nicola (2007) Out of season sheep milk production in Sardinia. Italian Journal of Animal Science, Vol. 6 (Suppl. 1), p. 588-590. eISSN 1828-051X. Article.
Sheep breeding in Sardinia is based on two lambing seasons: in autumn for adult and in late winter for primiparous ewes. The milk production is concentrated within the winter-spring period, determining a break in the cheese factories’ activities from the middle summer to the middle autumn. In order to have a continuous milk production over all the year an out-of-season sheep farming model was tested in Sardinian irrigated lowland. 52 Sarda dairy ewes, 20% of which primiparous, were mated in October with a lambing season in March. The experimental flock grazed rotationally a forage model based on 66% of irrigated surface. Flock fertility and prolificacy resulted 100% and 1.58, respectively. During the suckling period the average lamb growth rate was 255 + 0.08 g head d-1. The average milk yield resulted 279 l head-1 in 180 milking days (290 and 258 l head-1 for adult and primiparous ewes, respectively). Average milk fat and protein contents were 5.8% and 4.7% respectively. The study suggested that it is possible to integrate an out of season milk production with the traditional breeding system in Sardinian irrigated lowlands.
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