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Title: Effect of climatic and agronomic factors on animal health, milk yield and quality parameters in Sfakiano dairy sheep production systems in Crete
Author: Voutzourakis, Nikolaos
ISNI:       0000 0004 9349 3704
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2019
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Due to the increasing demand of dairy products, many traditional, grazing-based Mediterranean sheep production systems have introduced intensified feeding and veterinary regimes. At the same time pastoralism was abandoned as a practice and many farmers invested high capital in settled facilities and increased their flock size in order to enhance productivity. However, compared with bovine milk production systems there is limited knowledge about the impact of these intensification practices on animal welfare/health and on the quality of dairy products. The aim of the study reported here was therefore to quantify the effects of a) production intensity/feeding regimes, and b) environmental background conditions during lactation, for ewes of different lambing period on health parameters and trade-offs between milk yield and quality parameters, in traditional Sfakiano sheep production systems in Crete. The findings of the reported study demonstrate that animal health, milk yield and quality in low-input dairy sheep production systems are affected by a series of agronomic and environmental factors. The different feeding practices between the semi-intensive and the extensive flocks on Crete had a significant effect on both milk productivity and FA profiles. In general, our results show that animals of the same genetic background, when reared under extensive management systems, produce less milk with a higher fat content and a more desirable milk FA profile but milk from extensive production systems was more variable throughout the seasons than milk from semi-intensive management systems. Moreover, clear correlations between management system and diseases and differences between the ewes of the different lambing periods were identified for animal health and milk quality parameters. Thus in order to optimize production and enhance product quality a detailed analysis of the characteristics of each production systems is required.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: European Community
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available