Food use of barley sprouts in organic sheep milk production.Hydroponic forage, used when fresh forage is scarce, represents a good alternative feed for milking ruminants, also in organicfarming systems, where it can reduce the forage/concentrate ratio. This study evaluated the effect of barley sprouts(BS) in the diet on nutrients utilization and milk production from organic ewes. Eighteen ewes were divided into 3 groupsand fed with 3 diets. Animals was fed with hay ad libitum and supplemented by: 0.6 kg/d of concentrate and 4 kg/d of BS(B100); 0.9 kg/d of concentrate and 2 kg/d of BS (B50); 1.2 kg/d of concentrate (C). Supplied and residual feeds and milkyield were recorded and sampled. Data were processed by mixed model. BS resulted richer in protein and fiber than barleygrains, while the NSC, and starch in particular, were reduced. DM intake of ewes increased as BS amount increasedin the diet (4230 vs. 4013 vs. 3760 g/d DM in B100, B50 and C; P<0.001). Diet affected milk yield, which was higher inB100 than in other groups (1348 vs. 1253 and 1254 g/d in B100, B50 and C; P<0.01), whereas it did not influence the maincomponents and the coagulation properties of milk. BS based diets, compared to control diet, contributed in reducing milkurea, increasing blood glycemia and improving BCS of ewes. However, these results need further investigations for evaluatethe convenience of investment for producing hydroponic forage, especially if it could be compensated by the increasein milk yield.
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|