Publications by authors named "Stefano Bovolenta"

16 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Effect of Feeding Adaptation of Italian Simmental Cows before Summer Grazing on Animal Behavior and Milk Characteristics.

Animals (Basel) 2020 May 11;10(5). Epub 2020 May 11.

Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy.

According to the alpine transhumance system, dairy cows are moved from indoor feeding with conserved forage to fresh herbage feeding on pasture. The aim of this study was to assess, as a feeding adaptation technique, the effect of a gradual inclusion of fresh herbage in the diet of Italian Simmental dairy cows before their transfer to alpine pasture on performance, behavior, and milk characteristics. Eighteen cows were assigned to three groups: animals transferred to alpine pasture with a 10-d feeding adaptation period consisting in gradual access to a pasture close to the valley farm (GT), animals transferred to alpine pasture without a feeding adaptation period (AT), and animals kept in the valley farm (IND). During the first two weeks of summer grazing, GT and AT showed higher rumination time and different concentrations of ketones, hydrocarbons, organic acids, toluene, alcohols, phenols, and dimethyl sulfone in milk as compared to IND, whereas no differences were found in milk yield, composition, or coagulation properties. No differences between GT and AT were evident for the studied variables. The feeding adaptation technique used in this study did not influence the performance and milk characteristics of Italian Simmental dairy cows grazing on alpine pasture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani10050829DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7278462PMC
May 2020

Welfare Assessment on Pasture: A Review on Animal-Based Measures for Ruminants.

Animals (Basel) 2020 Apr 2;10(4). Epub 2020 Apr 2.

Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy.

Outdoor and extensive farming systems allow animals to behave in a natural way and are often perceived as welfare friendly. Nonetheless, the natural environment poses multiple challenges to the welfare of animals, sometimes hampering their capacity to cope. Welfare assessment in outdoor and extensive systems has been rarely investigated, and little is known about the most appropriate indicators. The aim of this review was to identify animal-based measures of welfare to apply in extensive and pasture-based systems in domestic ruminants. Through the use of a dedicated software for systematic reviews, 810 papers were screened and a total of 52 papers were retained for in-depth analysis. ABM resulting from these papers were initially divided according to the species (cattle and small ruminants, including sheep and goats) and then to four principles: comfort, behavior, feeding and health. The results showed that welfare data were collected applying different methodologies, with an increasing use of sensors in recent years. The need to herd and restrain animals for individual data collection is one of the major constraints to data collection in extensive farming systems. It is suggested that welfare assessment in outdoor/extensive farming systems is carried out by following shared procedures in order to provide evidence of the higher animal welfare claims that these products often imply compared to indoor systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani10040609DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7222824PMC
April 2020

Environmental Sustainability Assessment of Dairy Farms Rearing the Italian Simmental Dual-Purpose Breed.

Animals (Basel) 2020 Feb 13;10(2). Epub 2020 Feb 13.

Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy.

This study aimed to assess the environmental footprint of dairy farms rearing a dual-purpose breed, and to evaluate, through alternative scenario analyses, the fattening of calves and the cultivation of hemp as strategies for reducing the environmental impact of these farms. Eleven farms were evaluated for global warming (GWP), acidification (AC) and eutrophication (EUP) potential. The Life Cycle Assessment method with three scenarios, REAL, based on real data, BEEF, where calves were fattened in farm, and HEMP, where hemp was cultivated in farms, were considered. If referred to 1 m of utilizable agricultural land, the GWP, AC and EUP were 1.6 kgCOeq, 21.7 gSOeq and 7.1 gPOeq, respectively. If referring to 1 kg of fat and protein corrected milk, the emissions were 1.1-1.4 kgCOeq, 14.8-19.0 gSOeq, and 5.0-6.4 gPOeq, depending on the allocation method adopted. The emissions were associated positively with culling rate and negatively with production intensity. In BEEF and HEMP scenarios, the emissions were reduced by 8-11% and by 1-5%, respectively. Fattening the calves, evaluating the cultivation of alternative plants and improving the productive and reproductive efficiency of animals could be effective strategies for reducing the environmental footprint of the farm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani10020296DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7070661PMC
February 2020

Microbial, chemico-physical and volatile aromatic compounds characterization of Pitina PGI, a peculiar sausage-like product of North East Italy.

Meat Sci 2020 May 6;163:108081. Epub 2020 Feb 6.

Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, via Sondrio 2/A, 33100 Udine, Italy.

Pitina is a fermented sausage-like produced in the mountainous area of the North-East Italy by artisanal plants without the use of both selected starters and casing (Slow Food Presidium). Originally, Pitina has been a way of preserving meat and it is manifactured by meat from ungulates mixed with pork lard, smoked, dryed and ripened. In this study, microbial ecology, physic-chemical parameters, and volatile aromatic compounds of Pitina SR and LR, which differ by the duration of ripening processes, were investigated. Results showed the good hygienic quality. Staphylococcus xylosus and Lactobacillus sakei were responsible for the ripening. Other Coagulase-negative Catalase-positive Cocci (CNCPC) and LAB species were identified: S. equorum, S. warneri, S. succinus and Carnobacterium divergens, Streptococcus equinus, Kocuria rhizophila. Giberella moniliformis and Penicillium turbatum were the only mould species isolated. Strain characterization demonstrated a high genetic variability. Raw meat, environment and ripening conditions seemed to affect strains distribution, which had an impact on the aromatic profile of the product.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2020.108081DOI Listing
May 2020

Do Dairy Farming Systems Differ in Antimicrobial Use?

Animals (Basel) 2019 Dec 25;10(1). Epub 2019 Dec 25.

Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy.

The quantitative assessment of antimicrobial use (AMU) in food-producing animals contributes to the provision of essential information for developing relevant and effective policies to reduce use and to control antimicrobial resistance. Information on AMU is available mainly for intensive dairy farming systems and specialized high-yielding breeds. The aim of this study is to investigate AMU in different dairy farming systems by comparing the treatment incidence in mountain farms with specialized high-yield dairy breeds or with dual-purpose breeds raised for milk production to the treatment incidence in lowland farms with specialized high-yield dairy breeds or with dual-purpose breeds raised for milk production. Significant differences were found only between the overall treatment incidence, as well as the treatment incidence of highest-priority critically important antimicrobials for human medicine, in lowland farms with high-yielding breeds and mountain farms with dual-purpose breeds. Mountain farms have a generally lower milk production and smaller herd size than lowland farms, provide cows with access to pasture, and limit concentrates in the diet. These management practices and the use of local/dual-purpose breeds could reduce the risk of production diseases and the consequent need for AMU.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani10010047DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7023443PMC
December 2019

Fatty Acid Profiles of Cow's Milk and Cheese as Affected by Mountain Pasture Type and Concentrate Supplementation.

Animals (Basel) 2019 Feb 22;9(2). Epub 2019 Feb 22.

Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy.

The aim of this trial was to assess the effect of pasture type and concentrate supplementation on the fatty acids (FA) composition of milk and cheese obtained during summer grazing on mountain pasture. Seventy-two Italian Simmental dairy cows were assigned to two groups that differed by the amount of concentrate supplementation: 3.0 kg/head/d (HIGH) vs. 1.5 kg/head/d (LOW). The dairy cows grazed on a alliance pasture (PAST1), and subsequently they grazed on a alliance pasture (PAST2) for 10 d each. In the last three days of each experimental period, milk samples were collected immediately before each cheese-making event. Cheese samples were collected from each cheese loaf after 60 d of ripening. LOW showed higher FA, FA intermediates of the ruminal biohydrogenation, C18:3 9,12,15, and total polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) levels than HIGH. The pasture type had a more limited effect on FA composition of milk than concentrate level and was mainly related to monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), which were higher in PAST1 than PAST2 ( < 0.05). In cheeses, these differences were reduced. The phytanic acid and phytanic isomer ratio (SRR/RRR) in milk were not affected either by supplement level ( > 0.05) or by type of pasture ( > 0.05). Increasing the concentrate offered to dairy cows from 1.5 to 3.0 kg/d did not markedly influence the level of PUFA in cheeses produced during summer grazing on high mountain pasture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani9020068DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6406273PMC
February 2019

Animal Welfare and Mountain Products from Traditional Dairy Farms: How Do Consumers Perceive Complexity?

Animals (Basel) 2018 Nov 14;8(11). Epub 2018 Nov 14.

Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy.

This qualitative study aims to investigate consumers' perceptions toward dairy cow welfare in traditional mountain farms. While consumers' understanding of conventional dairy production and animal welfare has already been investigated, how consumers perceive animal welfare in traditional mountain dairy farming remains still unexplored. Focus group interviews were conducted with consumers having different degrees of geographical proximity to mountains and with an explicit interest in local dairy products. The results of this qualitative study show that participants expect mountain farming to be on a smaller scale when compared to non-mountain farming systems and expect mountain products to be healthier. Similarly, all participants consider origin, locality, and small-scale production as relevant quality attributes of mountain cheese. However, the appreciation of these abstract features did not necessarily result in their recognition when sample pictures of traditional husbandry systems were provided especially in the case of urban participants. This study contributes to reveal the gap between urban consumers' conception of mountain farming and the actual farming practices. It also indicates the need to promote an effective science-based dialogue on animal welfare that goes beyond an anthropomorphic perspective and tackles the complexity of farming systems in relation to the context in which they are located.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani8110207DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6262486PMC
November 2018

Concentrate Supplement Modifies the Feeding Behavior of Simmental Cows Grazing in Two High Mountain Pastures.

Animals (Basel) 2018 May 16;8(5). Epub 2018 May 16.

Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, 33100 Udine, Italy.

During grazing on Alpine pastures, the use of concentrates in dairy cows' diet leads to a reduction of the environmental sustainability of farms, and influences the selective pressure on some plant species. In order to minimize the use of concentrates, it is imperative to obtain data on the grazing behavior of cows. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of concentrate levels on the behavior of dairy cows during grazing. One hundred and ten lactating Italian Simmental cows, that sequentially grazed two pastures characterized by (Poion) and (Seslerion) alliance, were considered. For each pasture, eight cows were selected and assigned to two groups: High and Low, supplemented with 4 kg/head/d, and 1 kg/head/d of concentrate respectively. Cows were equipped with a noseband pressure sensor and a pedometer (RumiWatch system, ITIN-HOCH GmbH) to assess grazing, ruminating, and walking behavior. In addition, the plant selection of the animals was assessed. On Poion, increased supplement intake caused a more intense selection of legumes, without affecting feeding and walking times. On Seslerion, grazing time was higher in Low than High. Grazing management in alpine region must take into account the great variability of pastures that largely differ from a floristic and nutritional point of view.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani8050076DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5981287PMC
May 2018

Organic meat quality of dual purpose young bulls supplemented with pea (Pisum sativum L.) or soybean.

J Sci Food Agric 2018 Feb 22;98(3):938-944. Epub 2017 Aug 22.

Department of Agricultural, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, Udine, Italy.

Background: One of the main constraints established by organic legislation that limits the development of the rearing of young bulls is the ban on the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO). Most of the worldwide cultivated soybean is GMO, therefore the use of alternative protein sources should be evaluated. In this study, the effect of dietary substitution of soybean with pea (Pisum sativum L.) on carcass characteristics and meat quality of dual purpose young bulls reared following the organic method was investigated.

Results: Twenty-four young bulls of Rendena breed were randomly assigned to two diet treatments differing in protein supplement (soybean (SB) or field pea (FP)). Carcass characteristics and meat chemical composition, colour, cooking loss and Warner-Bratzler shear force did not differ between groups. Regarding meat fatty acid composition, SB showed higher concentrations of C18:0 and C18:1 t and lower C16:1n-9c, C14:0, C17:1n-9c and C18:1n-9c than FP. In descriptive sensory analysis, trained judges were not able to differentiate meats from SB and FP, which also had similar overall liking expressed by consumers.

Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that FP can replace SB in the diet of dual purpose young bulls with only a minor influence on fatty acid composition and no effect on carcass characteristics and meat quality. © 2017 Society of Chemical Industry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.8540DOI Listing
February 2018

Greenhouse gas balance of mountain dairy farms as affected by grassland carbon sequestration.

J Environ Manage 2017 Jul 30;196:644-650. Epub 2017 Mar 30.

Department of Agriculture, Food, Environmental and Animal Sciences, University of Udine, Via delle Scienze 206, 33100 Udine, Italy.

Recent studies on milk production have often focused on environmental impacts analysed using the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach. In grassland-based livestock systems, soil carbon sequestration might be a potential sink to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) balance. Nevertheless, there is no commonly shared methodology. In this work, the GHG emissions of small-scale mountain dairy farms were assessed using the LCA approach. Two functional units, kg of Fat and Protein Corrected Milk (FPCM) and Utilizable Agricultural Land (UAL), and two different emissions allocations methods, no allocation and physical allocation, which accounts for the co-product beef, were considered. Two groups of small-scale dairy farms were identified based on the Livestock Units (LU) reared: <30 LU (LLU) and >30 LU (HLU). Before considering soil carbon sequestration in LCA, performing no allocation methods, LLU farms tended to have higher GHG emission than HLU farms per kg of FPCM (1.94 vs. 1.59 kg CO-eq/kg FPCM, P ≤ 0.10), whereas the situation was reversed upon considering the m of UAL as a functional unit (0.29 vs. 0.89 kg CO-eq/m, P ≤ 0.05). Conversely, considering physical allocation, the difference between the two groups became less noticeable. When the contribution from soil carbon sequestration was included in the LCA and no allocation method was performed, LLU farms registered higher values of GHG emission per kg of FPCM than HLU farms (1.38 vs. 1.10 kg CO-eq/kg FPCM, P ≤ 0.05), and the situation was likewise reversed in this case upon considering the m of UAL as a functional unit (0.22 vs. 0.73 kg CO-eq/m, P ≤ 0.05). To highlight how the presence of grasslands is crucial for the carbon footprint of small-scale farms, this study also applied a simulation for increasing the forage self-sufficiency of farms to 100%. In this case, an average reduction of GHG emission per kg of FPCM of farms was estimated both with no allocation and with physical allocation, reaching 27.0% and 28.8%, respectively.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2017.03.052DOI Listing
July 2017

Eating quality prediction of beef from Italian Simmental cattle based on experts' steak assessment.

Meat Sci 2016 Aug 14;118:1-7. Epub 2016 Mar 14.

Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Udine, Via Sondrio, 2/A, 33100 Udine, Italy.

The experiment aimed at defining a grading scheme for Italian Simmental (IS) beef linked to objective measure of eating quality. Four experts developed a meat quality grid based on the assessment of the steak between the 8th and 9th ribs (reference steak). The grid was tested on the reference steak of 29 IS young-bulls. Rib-eye dimension, meat colour, marbling, meat firmness and fat cover highly contributed to overall quality. Two classes of IS beef quality were identified: standard and high. The results were associated with the sensory profile of Longissimus thoracis muscle from the reference steaks performed by a trained panel. The differences in quality highlighted by experts in raw steak accounted for most of the relevant information regarding the sensory properties of cooked beef. The accuracy of predictive model was 96.6%. The developed scheme is a helpful tool for valuing the eating quality of beef.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2016.03.015DOI Listing
August 2016

Influence of familiarity with goat meat on liking and preference for capretto and chevon.

Meat Sci 2015 Aug 10;106:69-77. Epub 2015 Apr 10.

Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Udine, Via Sondrio, 2/A, 33100 Udine, Italy.

The research aimed at assessing liking and preference for capretto and chevon as a function of consumer familiarity with goat meat. Five meats were produced: traditional milk capretto (MC), heavy summer capretto (HSC), summering (SCh), fall (FCh) and late fall chevon (LFCh). HSC was the most tender meat, having less cooking losses than both MC and redder chevon types. The instrumental profile corresponded with the appearance and texture attributes perceived by panellists. With aging of kids, meat lost its milk aroma (MC) and sweet taste (HSC) and acquired an increasing intensity of goat flavour and livery notes, partially related to feeding regime and fatty acid profile. A niche market preferred chevon over capretto, while the cluster of consumers who were unfamiliar with chevon showed a decrease in pleasantness when tasting chevon, the familiar group reduced their ratings only for meat from the oldest kids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2015.04.001DOI Listing
August 2015

Montasio cheese liking as affected by information about cows breed and rearing system.

J Dairy Res 2015 Feb 7;82(1):15-21. Epub 2014 Oct 7.

Department of Agriculture and Environmental Science,University of Udine,Via delle Scienze 206,33100 Udine,Italy.

Unlabelled: European consumers are more and more aware of the credence attributes of foods, particularly of those of animal origin. The aim of the paper was to assess whether the information about production system may modify the consumer liking of cheese. Montasio PDO cheese (MC), usually made by milk from indoor reared cows of different breeds, was processed from pure milk of Italian Simmental (IS) cows (ISMC) or of IS cows grazing on mountain pasture (ALP-ISMC). A consumer test was carried out in two sessions on 60-d ripened cheeses. In the first, both cheeses were tasted by Montasio consumers in blind condition (Perceived liking, PL). Then the respondents were asked to read information about the breed and the rearing system and to give their Expected liking (EL). Two weeks after, in the second session, the same consumers tasted the two cheeses with the linked information (Actual liking, AL). Despite the similar PL average score (ISMC: 21±2·3 vs.

Alp-ismc: 23±2·2 points on Labelled Affective Magnitude scale, P>0·05), it was possible to identifying consumers' clusters with differential liking for the two types of Montasio PDO, that were characterised by different physico-chemical properties. Consumers express a high EL for ISMC (38±2·6 points) and even more for ALP-ISMC (61±2·5 points). The AL of ISMC (35±2·1 points) was similar and statistically not different from the EL (complete assimilation of information about breed). For ALP-ISMC the assimilation was complete for consumers (29%) who have expressed a positive PL for it, at least twice as much than ISMC. For the rest of consumers, both information and intrinsic properties play a significant role in the AL of the pasture-derived cheese.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022029914000545DOI Listing
February 2015

Effect of rearing system (mountain pasture vs. indoor) of Simmental cows on milk composition and Montasio cheese characteristics.

J Dairy Res 2013 Nov 26;80(4):390-9. Epub 2013 Jul 26.

Department of Agriculture and Environmental Science, University of Udine, Via delle Scienze 206, 33100 Udine, Italy.

Dairy cattle in the Alps are traditionally maintained on high altitude pastures during summer. In recent decades, however, many farmers prefer to maintain the cows always indoor with a hay-based diet. Many authors have shown that the forage type is able to modify the characteristics of milk and cheese. Recently the product specification of PDO Montasio allowed differentiation between mountain cheeses and other products. Aim of this trial is to study the effect of rearing system on the characteristics of milk and cheese produced in this context. One hundred and twenty Simmental dairy cows were considered, 60 grazed on high altitude pasture, and 60 kept indoor and fed a hay-based diet. Cheese production was repeated in two periods (early July and late August) and ripened two and six months. Pasture-derived milk and cheese presented higher fat and lower protein content than hay-derived ones. Rearing systems also affected cheese colour. Textural parameters, hardness, gumminess and chewiness were found to be higher in pasture-derived cheese. In addition, it showed lower level of total saturated fatty acids, and higher level of mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids than hay-derived cheeses. Consumers perceived the difference of cheeses in terms of colour and holes, but they express a similar overall liking. More limited effects of period and ripening time were observed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022029913000344DOI Listing
November 2013

Effect of pork lard content on the chemical, microbiological and sensory properties of a typical fermented meat product (Pitina) obtained from Alpagota sheep.

Meat Sci 2008 Nov 28;80(3):771-9. Epub 2008 Mar 28.

Department of Animal Science, University of Udine, via S. Mauro, 2, 33010 Pagnacco (UD), Italy.

The aim was to investigate the physicochemical, microbiological and sensory properties of Pitina, a typical fermented meat product and evaluate the effect of two levels of pork lard content (Low Fat, LF, 10% vs. High Fat, HF, 30%) on its attributes. HF attained lower pH than LF Pitina, which reached lower water activity. LAB comprised the major flora with substantial counts of micrococci, enterococci and mould and yeast. Gram negative Enterobacteria were recovered as coliforms and faecal coliforms. Listeria monocytogenes was also isolated. The lard level influenced the count of micrococci and some sensory attributes. LF attained higher scores for both hardness and cohesiveness and differed from HF in having a more marked odour of ewe and smoke and sweeter taste. HF had a more pronounced odour and taste of garlic and mould than LF.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.meatsci.2008.03.021DOI Listing
November 2008

Effects of stocking density and supplement level on milk production and cheese characteristics in Brown cows grazing on mountain pasture.

J Dairy Res 2008 Aug;75(3):357-64

Department of Animal Science, University of Udine, 33010 Pagnacco, Udine, Italy.

Twenty-eight Brown cows were maintained on a mountain pasture for a period of 40 days and assigned to 4 groups following a factorial design 2 stocking density (0.7 and 1.4 cows/ha)x2 supplement levels (2.4 and 4.8 kg organic matter (OM)/d). Herbage intake, animal body condition score (BCS), milk yield, milk chemical and coagulation properties, cheese composition, rheology and sensory characteristics were measured. The average herbage intake was 12.2 kg OM/d, with a significant effect related to stocking density (low, 13.1 v. high, 11.4 kg OM/d). BCS variation was always negative and changed with supplement level, although with no statistical significance (-0.43 points on average). Milk yield was lower for the group with lower availability of herbage (low supplement and high stocking density: 15.9 kg/d), whereas it was comparable among others groups (16.9 kg/d on average). The group with high supplement and low stocking density produced milk with worse cheese making properties. Cheese composition analyses showed an effect of supplement level on calcium content, and on parameters for degree of ripening, such as nitrogen fractions and lipolysis index. As for the textural parameters, hardness and gumminess were found to be higher with the low level of supplement. The different level of supplementation could differentiate the groups on the basis of the sensory perception of cheese.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022029908003531DOI Listing
August 2008