3 years ago

Factors associated with herd bulk milk composition and technological traits in the Italian dairy industry

The aim of the present study was to investigate sources of variation of milk composition and technological characteristics routinely collected in field conditions in the Italian dairy industry. A total of 40,896 bulk milk records from 620 herds and 10 regions across Italy were analyzed. Composition traits were fat, protein, and casein percentages, urea content, and somatic cell score; and technological characteristics were rennet coagulation time, curd firming time, curd firmness 30 min after rennet addition to milk, and titratable acidity. Data of herd bulk milks were analyzed using a model that included fixed effects of region, herd nested within region, and season of milk analysis. An average good milk quality was reported in the dairy industry (especially concerning fat, protein, and casein percentages), and moderate to high correlations between composition and technological traits were observed. All factors included in the statistical model were significant in explaining the variation of the studied traits except for region effect in the analysis of casein and somatic cell score. Northeast and central-southern Italian regions showed the best performance for composition and technological features, respectively. Traits varied greatly across regions, which could reflect differences in herd management and strategies. Overall, less suitable milk for dairy processing was observed in summer. Results of the present study suggested that a constant monitoring of technological traits in the dairy industry is necessary to improve production quality at herd level and it may be a way to segregate milk according to its processing characteristics.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S002203021731086X

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