Special Issue "Selected Papers of the Italian Society of Sheep and Goat Pathology and Production (SIPAOC) Meetings"

A special issue of Animals (ISSN 2076-2615). This special issue belongs to the section "Small Ruminants".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 September 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Giuseppe Moniello

Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, Via Vienna 2, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Prof. Maria Teresa Manfredi
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Milan, 20133 Milan, Italy
Prof. Paola Sacchi

Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Science, University of Turin, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Animals is open for the submission of papers presented at the 22nd and 23rd National Congresses of the Italian Society of Sheep and Goat Pathology and Production (SIPAOC Società Italiana di Patologia e di Allevamento degli Ovini e dei Caprini), organized by our colleagues of Turin (at Cuneo, IT, September 2016)) and of Naples (at Naples, IT, September 2018). This Special Issue will cover the latest developments in small ruminants production (breeding, nutrition and feeding, quality of the products, genetics, welfare, conservation, etc.) and pathology (parasitic, bacterial, viral, etc.).

Prof. Giuseppe Moniello
Prof. Maria Teresa Manfredi
Prof. Paola Sacchi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Animals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Isolation of Mycobacterium avium Subsp. Paratuberculosis in the Feces and Tissue of Small Ruminants Using a Non-Automated Liquid Culture Method
Animals 2020, 10(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010020 - 20 Dec 2019
Abstract
Paratuberculosis is a chronic disease of ruminants caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. Paratuberculosis (MAP). Since isolation of MAP type I (S) is rarely reported in Italy, our research was aimed at isolating, by an inexpensive liquid culture manual method, this type of MAP [...] Read more.
Paratuberculosis is a chronic disease of ruminants caused by Mycobacterium avium subsp. Paratuberculosis (MAP). Since isolation of MAP type I (S) is rarely reported in Italy, our research was aimed at isolating, by an inexpensive liquid culture manual method, this type of MAP isolates. At first, we used an ELISA to point out to serologically positive samples from five flocks. Secondly, we used a fecal direct IS900-qPCR on the ELISA positive samples, in order to detect shedder animals. Feces from IS900-qPCR positive samples were inoculated in solid and liquid culture media. IS900-qPCR was further used to test the growth of MAP isolates in liquid medium, which were further confirmed by f57-qPCR and submitted to typing by specific PCR in order to identify the MAP type. Twenty-eight samples (24 fecal and four tissutal samples) were processed by culture methods, resulting in the isolation of six type I MAP field isolates. Notably, no isolates were recovered by solid media, underlining the utility of this liquid method. Few data about this type of MAP are currently available in Italy, and further analyses should be carried out in order to study the origin and epidemiology of type I strains circulating in Italy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Use of Complementary Natural Feed for Gastrointestinal Nematodes Control in Sheep: Effectiveness and Benefits for Animals
Animals 2019, 9(12), 1037; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9121037 - 27 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The treatments of gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) infection in sheep is almost exclusively based on the use of synthetic drugs. In some European regions the intensive use of antiparasitic drugs is leading to widespread development of anthelmintic resistance (AR). Currently in southern Italy AR [...] Read more.
The treatments of gastrointestinal nematodes (GIN) infection in sheep is almost exclusively based on the use of synthetic drugs. In some European regions the intensive use of antiparasitic drugs is leading to widespread development of anthelmintic resistance (AR). Currently in southern Italy AR is rare, but a constant monitoring of anthelmintic efficacy and the use of effective alternative therapies is strongly recommended. The aim of our study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a complementary natural feed (natural vegetable mixture), based on natural extracts, registered for GIN treatment in sheep, and its comparison with the drug ivermectin. The study was conducted in two sheep breeding farms in southern Italy and 75 sheep were divided in groups of 15 animals each (treated and untreated groups), homogeneous by GIN eggs per gram (EPG) of faeces, using the natural anthelmintic administered at full dose (10 g/sheep/orally) in the first breeding and at double dose (20 g/sheep/orally) in the second. In the latter we compared the effectiveness of mixture with ivermectin administered at full dose (200 μg/kg/BW). To determine the effectiveness, individual faecal samples were collected to evaluate the faecal eggs count (FEC) using FLOTAC technique and FEC reduction (FECR) on different days. The formula used FECR = 100 × (1 − (T2/C2)), based on the comparison of post-treatment EPG mean of the treated and untreated group (T2 and C2, respectively), is the one recommended by World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (W.A.A.V.P.) guidelines to monitor drug efficacy against GIN in livestock. The results reported that complementary natural feed, at two different dosages, was ineffective against GIN, while the drug, at conventional dosage, showed good anthelmintic efficacy, also confirming the importance of in vivo effectiveness studies. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Spatial Analysis of Infections by Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum (Protozoa: Apicomplexa) in Small Ruminants in Northern Italy
Animals 2019, 9(11), 916; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110916 - 04 Nov 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The objectives of this study were: (i) To investigate possible geographical or environmental factors influencing the infections by Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in sheep and goats in northern Italy; (ii) to identify areas at risk of infection to set up preventive measures. [...] Read more.
The objectives of this study were: (i) To investigate possible geographical or environmental factors influencing the infections by Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum in sheep and goats in northern Italy; (ii) to identify areas at risk of infection to set up preventive measures. Forty-three sheep and goat farms were included. Their locations were plotted and associated with T. gondii and N. caninum seroprevalence, then the distribution of farms’ prevalence was evaluated by spatial analysis. Significant clusters for both low and high prevalence were obtained, and a generalized linear model with ordinal logistic regression was implemented to verify if spatial clustering could be due to climate factors (temperature, rainfall, and their interaction). Clusters of high (80.0%) and low prevalence (28.12%) resulted for T. gondii seroprevalence in sheep farms. No significant clusters resulted for goat farms. Clusters of high (38.68%) and low prevalence (21.23%) resulted for N. caninum seroprevalence in sheep farms. One high-prevalence cluster (15.62%) resulted for goat farms. For goats, spatial analysis and analysis on climatic data showed the absence of environmental significant risk factors associated with T. gondii or N. caninum infection. On the contrary, for sheep, annual temperature, rainfall, and their association affected the risk of T. gondii and N. caninum infection. Particularly, high temperatures and abundant rainfalls were related to T. gondii seroprevalence, while low temperatures and scarce rainfalls were related to N. caninum seroprevalence. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Assessment of Housing Conditions, Management, Animal-Based Measure of Dairy Goats’ Welfare and Its Association with Productive and Reproductive Traits
Animals 2019, 9(11), 893; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110893 - 01 Nov 2019
Abstract
The aim of the study was to evaluate the welfare of dairy goats of 32 farms located in Northwestern Italy, applying an on-farm assessment protocol, centered on animal-, resources- and management-based measures. The farms were classified as ‘intensive’ or ‘semi-intensive’ according to access [...] Read more.
The aim of the study was to evaluate the welfare of dairy goats of 32 farms located in Northwestern Italy, applying an on-farm assessment protocol, centered on animal-, resources- and management-based measures. The farms were classified as ‘intensive’ or ‘semi-intensive’ according to access to pasture. During each on-farm visit, a checklist was compiled, based on specific scores for housing and management conditions, and animals’ nutritional status, health, and behavior. Finally, the possible association between welfare measures and productive and reproductive traits was assessed. Overall, we observed an adequate level of animal wellbeing both in intensive and semi-intensive farming systems. This is possible thanks to the increased knowledge on goat breeding characteristics, and to the fact that veterinarians and farmers understood the importance of welfare protection to achieve a better health. Higher milk production was associated to some management practices (presence of the owner on the farm, high frequency of bedding change), and to seasonal breeding (which was mainly performed in the intensive farming). Moreover, it was associated to a quantity of urea in the milk comprised between 33 and 44 mg/dL. In intensive farms, the prevalence of caseous lymphadenitis was significantly higher compared to non-intensive farms. The semi-intensive breeding system positively influences the animals’ behavior. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Goat Dairy Product Assortment in Different Sales Channels in Northwestern Italy
Animals 2019, 9(10), 823; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100823 - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
An analysis of goat dairy-based product assortment was carried out in the metropolitan area of Turin (Northwestern Italy), considering three different sales channels: large-scale retail chains, retail stores, and direct sales in farmers’ markets (FMs). The survey results show a widespread presence of [...] Read more.
An analysis of goat dairy-based product assortment was carried out in the metropolitan area of Turin (Northwestern Italy), considering three different sales channels: large-scale retail chains, retail stores, and direct sales in farmers’ markets (FMs). The survey results show a widespread presence of goat products in the Turin market. In each type of selected distribution channel, characterized by its own peculiarities, products differed both in terms of reference numbers and assortment; they were better in large-scale retail distribution, both in terms of quality and typicality, whereas specialized retail and direct sales were better equipped. Furthermore, given the importance of the sector at the regional level, we also focused, through the analysis of product origin, on the fact that local provenience increases from large-scale distribution to fully regional farmers’ markets. The mean price was different, being lower in direct sales at FMs, and medium to high and high at retail sales, as they are considered high quality niche products. The offer is correlated and in agreement with consumer targets (modern, ethical, and traditional), finding the "ideal" product in the different types offered, however, even if the results underline the potential of this sector, the fragmentation of the goat sector in Piedmont still represents a limit to expansion, and to the positioning of products in the market. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Feeding Linseed on SCD Activity in Grazing Goat Mammary Glands
Animals 2019, 9(10), 786; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100786 - 11 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The effects of linseed feeding on the stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) activity were evaluated on grazing dairy goats divided into two homogeneous groups (C, control, and L, treated) fed the same amount of concentrate which, for group L was supplemented with linseed. Milk yield [...] Read more.
The effects of linseed feeding on the stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) activity were evaluated on grazing dairy goats divided into two homogeneous groups (C, control, and L, treated) fed the same amount of concentrate which, for group L was supplemented with linseed. Milk yield was unaffected by the treatment. Group L showed significantly higher milk fat (4.10% vs 2.94%, p < 0.01) than group S. Within milk fatty acids, group C showed significantly higher levels of saturated fatty acids and lower values of mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. In group L, total CLAs were higher than in group S (0.646% vs 0.311%; p < 0.01) mainly because of the differences in CLA cis9 trans 11 (0.623% vs 0.304%; p < 0.01). In treated animals, SCD activity, measured as cis9 C14:1/C14:0, was lower than in the control group, mainly in July and August. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cytogenetic Analyses in Ewes with Congenital Abnormalities of the Genital Apparatus
Animals 2019, 9(10), 776; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100776 - 10 Oct 2019
Abstract
The Disorders of Sex Development (DSDs) are congenital conditions characterized by inconsistency among chromosomal, gonadal, and anatomical sex development. The aim of this research is to report the clinical and cytogenetic findings of four DSD cases and 13 couples of heterosexual twins in [...] Read more.
The Disorders of Sex Development (DSDs) are congenital conditions characterized by inconsistency among chromosomal, gonadal, and anatomical sex development. The aim of this research is to report the clinical and cytogenetic findings of four DSD cases and 13 couples of heterosexual twins in sheep. To this purpose, C- and R-banding techniques were used, and the analyses of the SRY (Sex Determining Region Y) and AMEL (Amelogenin) genes were carried out. Moreover, morphopathological analyses were performed in one case. The four DSD sheep cases were registered as females at birth, and for none of them it was possible to establish whether the subjects were born from heterosexual multiple births. Three of the four cases were diagnosed as XX/XY blood lymphocyte chimaeras, while the fourth case was diagnosed as a 54, XY SRY-positive DSD sheep. None of the heterosexual twins showed XX/XY blood chimaerism. This finding suggests that the blood chimaeric cases detected could also be due to a zygote/embryo fusion. Moreover, no gene variants involved in sheep DSD are known, the identification of which would be very useful for the sheep industry. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Prediction of Milk Coagulation Properties and Individual Cheese Yield in Sheep Using Partial Least Squares Regression
Animals 2019, 9(9), 663; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090663 - 07 Sep 2019
Abstract
The objectives of this study were (i) the prediction of sheep milk coagulation properties (MCP) and individual laboratory cheese yield (ILCY) from mid-infrared (MIR) spectra by using partial least squares (PLS) regression, and (ii) the comparison of different data pre-treatments on prediction accuracy. [...] Read more.
The objectives of this study were (i) the prediction of sheep milk coagulation properties (MCP) and individual laboratory cheese yield (ILCY) from mid-infrared (MIR) spectra by using partial least squares (PLS) regression, and (ii) the comparison of different data pre-treatments on prediction accuracy. Individual milk samples of 970 Sarda breed ewes were analyzed for rennet coagulation time (RCT), curd-firming time (k20), and curd firmness (a30) using the Formagraph instrument; ILCY was measured by micro-manufacturing assays. An Furier-transform Infrared (FTIR) milk-analyzer was used for the estimation of the milk gross composition and the recording of MIR spectrum. The dataset (n = 859, after the exclusion of 111 noncoagulating samples) was divided into two sub-datasets: the data of 700 ewes were used to estimate prediction model parameters, and the data of 159 ewes were used to validate the model. Four prediction scenarios were compared in the validation, differing for the use of whole or reduced MIR spectrum and the use of raw or corrected data (locally weighted scatterplot smoothing). PLS prediction statistics were moderate. The use of the reduced MIR spectrum yielded the best results for the considered traits, whereas the data correction improved the prediction ability only when the whole MIR spectrum was used. In conclusion, PLS achieves good accuracy of prediction, in particular for ILCY and RCT, and it may enable increasing the number of traits to be included in breeding programs for dairy sheep without additional costs and logistics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Pasture on Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase and miRNA 103 Expression in Goat Milk: Preliminary Results
Animals 2019, 9(9), 606; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090606 - 26 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The effect of pasture on the stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) and miRNA 103 expression was evaluated on dairy goats divided into two homogeneous groups (G, grazing, and S, stable). Group S was housed in a stall and received alfalfa hay as forage, while group [...] Read more.
The effect of pasture on the stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD) and miRNA 103 expression was evaluated on dairy goats divided into two homogeneous groups (G, grazing, and S, stable). Group S was housed in a stall and received alfalfa hay as forage, while group G was led to pasture. The goats of both the groups received the same amount of concentrate. Milk yield did not differ statistically between the groups. Group G showed significantly higher fat (4.10% vs. 2.94%, p < 0.01) and protein percentage (3.43% vs. 3.25%; p < 0.05) than group S. Among milk fatty acids, group S showed significantly higher levels of saturated fatty acids (SFA) and lower values of mono-unsaturated fatty acid (MUFA). The percentages of polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) were not different between groups even if pasture significantly affected the percentages of C18:3 and total omega 3. In group G, total CLAs were twice than in group S (0.646% vs. 0.311%; p < 0.01) mainly due to the differences in CLA cis9 trans 11 (0.623% vs. 0.304%; p < 0.01). Milk total CLA in grazing group was significantly (p < 0.01) higher in August according to the highest value of both linoleic and α-linolenic acids in the pasture. In grazing animals, SCD expression decreased from April to June, increased in July and decreased again in August, while it was almost unvaried along the trial in group S. By contrast, the expression of miRNA 103 showed a similar trend for both groups, decreasing from April to June, increasing in July and falling down in August. To our knowledge, this is the first observation of the effects of pasture on miRNA expression in milk from ruminant species. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Sanitary Emergencies at the Wild/Domestic Caprines Interface in Europe
Animals 2019, 9(11), 922; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110922 - 05 Nov 2019
Abstract
Population density and distribution of the four native European wild Caprines (Rupicapra rupicapra, Rupicapra pyrenaica, Capra ibex, Capra pyrenaica) have increased in recent decades. The improved conservation status of this valuable wildlife, while a welcome event in general [...] Read more.
Population density and distribution of the four native European wild Caprines (Rupicapra rupicapra, Rupicapra pyrenaica, Capra ibex, Capra pyrenaica) have increased in recent decades. The improved conservation status of this valuable wildlife, while a welcome event in general terms, is at the same time a matter of concern since, intuitively, frequent and tighter contacts with sympatric livestock imply a greater risk of cross-transmission of emerging and re-emerging pathogens, and offer unexpected opportunities for pathogens to spread, persist and evolve. This article recalls the transmissible diseases that are perceived in Europe to be of major significance from a conservation perspective, namely brucellosis (BRC) by Brucella melitensis, infectious kerato-conjunctivitis (IKC) by Mycoplasma conjunctivae, pestivirosis (PV) by the border disease virus strain 4 and mange by Sarcoptes scabiei. Special emphasis has been put on the epidemiological role played by small domestic ruminants, and on key knowledge needed to implement evidence-based prevention and control strategies. Remarkably, scientific evidence demonstrates that major demographic downturns in affected wild Caprinae populations in recent decades have often been triggered by pathogens cross-transmitted at the livestock/wildlife interface. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Effects of Fat Supplementation in Dairy Goats on Lipid Metabolism and Health Status
Animals 2019, 9(11), 917; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9110917 - 04 Nov 2019
Abstract
Fat supplementation has long been used in dairy ruminant nutrition to increase the fat content of milk and supply energy during particularly challenging production phases. Throughout the years, advances have been made in the knowledge of metabolic pathways and technological treatments of dietary [...] Read more.
Fat supplementation has long been used in dairy ruminant nutrition to increase the fat content of milk and supply energy during particularly challenging production phases. Throughout the years, advances have been made in the knowledge of metabolic pathways and technological treatments of dietary fatty acids (FAs), resulting in safer and more widely available lipid supplements. There is an awareness of the positive nutraceutical effects of the addition of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to fat supplementation, which provides consumers with healthier animal products through manipulation of their characteristics. If it is true that benefits to human health can be derived from the consumption of animal products rich in bioactive fatty acids (FAs), then it is reasonable to think that the same effect can occur in the animals to which the supplements are administered. Therefore, recent advances in fat supplementation of dairy goats with reference to the effect on health status have been summarized. In vivo trials and in vitro analysis on cultured cells, as well as histological and transcriptomic analyses of hepatic and adipose tissue, have been reviewed in order to assess documented relationships between specific FAs, lipid metabolism, and immunity. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Extensive Ruminant Production Systems and Milk Quality with Emphasis on Unsaturated Fatty Acids, Volatile Compounds, Antioxidant Protection Degree and Phenol Content
Animals 2019, 9(10), 771; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9100771 - 08 Oct 2019
Abstract
Dairy products from grazing ruminant have numerous positive effects on human health thanks to their higher content essential fatty acids, vitamins, and polyphenols. Compared to livestock fed a conventional maize silage- and/or grain-based diet, grass-fed livestock produce milk with higher levels of n-3 [...] Read more.
Dairy products from grazing ruminant have numerous positive effects on human health thanks to their higher content essential fatty acids, vitamins, and polyphenols. Compared to livestock fed a conventional maize silage- and/or grain-based diet, grass-fed livestock produce milk with higher levels of n-3 fatty acids, vitamins A, E, carotenoids, and phenols. The effect is even more pronounced if animals are grazing on legume/forbs-rich grasslands. This review argues, based on the available literature, about the effect of grazing ruminant on milk and cheese quality, including the hedonistic aspects, pointing out the link between territory and dairy products quality (Protected Designation Origin; Protected Geografic Origin; namely PDO and PGI labels). Moreover, it points out the main plant biomarkers which can be used to discriminate grazing sourced from stall-fed sourced milk and dairy products. Overall milk and cheese sourced from grazing animals (cows, sheep and goat) showed higher levels (compared to stall system) of FA, vitamins, phenols, putatively beneficial for consumers’ health. FA and plant secondary metabolites can also affect flavor and some nutritional and technological features of dairy products such as their antioxidant protection degree. This would favour a fair pricing of dairy products sourced from grazing systems and the persistence of viable and sustainable extensive production systems. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Coagulation Traits of Sheep and Goat Milk
Animals 2019, 9(8), 540; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9080540 - 08 Aug 2019
Abstract
Milk production from sheep and goat species is continuously growing worldwide, and its main use is for cheesemaking. Given that the final quality of cheese is linked to the traits of raw milk cheese yield at dairy plants, it is often calculated by [...] Read more.
Milk production from sheep and goat species is continuously growing worldwide, and its main use is for cheesemaking. Given that the final quality of cheese is linked to the traits of raw milk cheese yield at dairy plants, it is often calculated by using predictive formulas based on fat and protein content. Predictive formulas have been studied for bovine milk and are very effective but not appropriate for sheep and goat milk. Several methods, which simulate the actual coagulation processes, are available at the laboratories. This article reviews the available literature about rennet coagulation and cheese yield traits from sheep and goat milk and the methods used at the laboratory level. In general, if compared to cow milk, sheep and goat milk are characterized by shorter rennet coagulation times and a very limited amount of non-coagulating samples. Curd firmness of sheep milk is almost independent from the rennet coagulation time, and some coagulation traits can be predicted by infrared spectra. In addition, coagulation traits are characterized by appropriate values of heritability to be considered in selective breeding plans. With regard to goat milk, rennet coagulation time and cheese yield are strongly influenced by the breed effect. Full article
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Other

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Open AccessBrief Report
The Effects of Substituting Dietary Soybean Meal with Maize Grain on Milk Production in Dairy Goats
Animals 2020, 10(2), 299; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10020299 - 13 Feb 2020
Abstract
In view of better environmental sustainability, livestock diets must not exceed protein requirements, as often happens with lactating goats reared in semi-intensive systems. The aim of this experiment was to verify in real-breeding conditions the influence of two diets with different protein contents [...] Read more.
In view of better environmental sustainability, livestock diets must not exceed protein requirements, as often happens with lactating goats reared in semi-intensive systems. The aim of this experiment was to verify in real-breeding conditions the influence of two diets with different protein contents (% crude protein (CP) on dry matter (DM)): 16.0 (high-protein diet; HP) vs 12.2 (low-protein diet; LP) on milk production in dairy goats. The diets differed only in the replacement—in the LP diet—of 250 g soybean meal with 250 g maize grain meal. Twenty-three Alpine goats were divided into two groups and used in a cross-over feeding trial for 2 months. Animals were weighed at the beginning of each month of the trial, and feed intake and milk yield and composition were recorded weekly. HP and LP did not differ statistically for milk yield and composition (3.32 vs 3.42 kg milk/d, 3.21% vs 3.27% fat, 3.31% vs 3.27% protein for HP and LP, respectively), but the HP diet determined a higher milk urea content (51.2 vs 36.6 mg/dL, p < 0.001) and a worse efficiency of nitrogen utilization (28.0% vs 37.2%). In conclusion, the LP diet resulted in a reduction of urinary nitrogen excretion by 28% and of the feed cost by about 10%. Full article
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