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Aseasonal sheep and goat milk production in the Mediterranean area: Physiological and technical insights

  • Autori: Todaro, M; Dattena, M; Acciaioli, A; Bonanno, A; Bruni, G; Caroprese , M; Mele, M; Sevi, A; Trabalza Marinucci, M
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2015
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Aseasonal or out-of-season milk production for small ruminants raised in Mediterraneanareas refers generally to milk having to be produced at a time that corresponds to summerwhich is when conditions are generally unfavourable with respect to both physiologicalaspects and nutritional factors related to seasonal climatic trends. In fact, sheep and goatmilk production in the Mediterranean basin is mostly based on pasture utilization andthus follows the pasture availability pattern. This causes a strong seasonal pattern to theamount of milk processed by cheese processes plants, with the peak being in the spring,a marked reduction in early summer and nil or low availability of milk from August toOctober–November (autumn). In this paper, the reproduction cycles and managerial tech-niques that can be applied in the Mediterranean environment to reduce or eliminate theseasonality of milk production are discussed. The use of the “ram effect” at the end of theanoestrous season and light treatment can be effective and simple tools to maintain milkyield in the summer period. However, even if sheep and goats are considered to be amongthe most heat-tolerant species, the exposure to high ambient temperatures has a detri-mental impact on their production and reproductive performances, immune function andudder health. The use of effective nutritional strategies, the provision of shaded areas andadequate housing density could then reduce the heat stress.