Summer transhumance of dairy cows to high Alpine pastures is still practiced in many mountainous areas. It is important for many permanent dairy farms because the use of highland pastures increases milk production and high-priced typical local dairy products often boost farm income. As traditional cheese- and ricotta-making procedures in Alpine pastures are central to this dairy system, the objective of this study was to characterize the quality and efficiency of products and their relationships with the quality and availability of grass during the grazing season. The milk from 148 cows from 12 permanent farms reared on a temporary farm located in Alpine pastures was processed every 2Â wk during the summer (7 cheesemakings from late June to early September). During each processing, 11 dairy products (4 types of milk, 2 by-products, 3 fresh products, and 2 ripened cheeses) were sampled and analyzed. In addition, 8 samples of fresh forage from the pasture used by the cows were collected and analyzed. At the beginning of the pasture season the cows were at 233Â Â±Â 90Â d in milk, 2.4Â Â±Â 1.7 parities, and produced 23.6Â Â±Â 5.7Â kg/d of milk. The milk yield decreased with the move from permanent to temporary farms and during the entire summer transhumance, but partly recovered after the cows returned to the permanent farms. Similar trends were observed for the daily yields of fat, protein, casein, lactose, and energy, as we found no large variations in the quality of the milk, with the exception of the first period of Alpine pasture. The somatic cell counts of milk increased during transhumance, but this resulted from a concentration of cells in a lower quantity of milk rather than an increase in the total number of cells ejected daily from the udder. We noted a quadratic trend in availability of forage (fresh and dry matter weight per hectare), with a maximum in late July. The quality of forage also varied during the summer with a worsening of chemical composition. The evening milk (before and after natural creaming), the whole morning milk, and the mixed vat milk had different chemical compositions, traditional coagulation properties, and curd-firming modeling parameters. These variations over the pasture season were similar to the residual variations with respect to chemical composition, and much lower with respect to coagulation and curd-firming traits. Much larger variations were noted in cream, cheese, and ricotta yields, as well as in nutrient recoveries in curd during the pasture season. The protein content of forage was correlated with some of the coagulation and curd-firming traits, the ether extract of forage was positively correlated with milk fat content and cheese yields, and fiber fractions of forage were unfavorably correlated with some of the chemical and technological traits. Traditional cheese- and ricotta-making procedures showed average cream, cheese, and ricotta yields of 6.3, 14.2, and 4.9%, respectively, and an overall recovery of almost 100% of milk fat, 88% of milk protein, and 60% of total milk solids.
Cheesemaking in highland pastures: Milk technological properties, cream, cheese and ricotta yields, milk nutrients recovery, and products composition / Bergamaschi, M.; Cipolat-Gotet, C.; Stocco, G.; Valorz, C.; Bazzoli, I.; Sturaro, E.; Ramanzin, M.; Bittante, G.. - In: JOURNAL OF DAIRY SCIENCE. - ISSN 0022-0302. - 99:12(2016), pp. 9631-9646. [10.3168/jds.2016-11199]
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