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Variation of milk coagulation properties, cheese yield, and nutrients recovery in curd of cows of different breeds before, during and after transhumance to highland summer pastures

  • Francesco Zendri (a1), Maurizio Ramanzin (a1), Claudio Cipolat-Gotet (a1) and Enrico Sturaro (a1)


This paper aimed at evaluating the effect of summer transhumance to mountain pastures of dairy cows of different breeds on cheese-making ability of milk. Data were from 649 dairy cows of specialized (Holstein Friesian and Brown Swiss) dual purpose (Simmental) and local (mostly Rendena and Alpine Grey) breeds. The Fourier-Transform Infra-Red Spectra (FTIRS) of their milk samples were collected before and after transhumance in 109 permanent dairy farms, and during transhumance in 14 summer farms (with multi-breeds herds) of the Trento Province, north-eastern Italy. A variety of 18 traits describing milk coagulation, curd firming, cheese yield and nutrients recovery in curd/loss in whey were predicted on the basis of FTIRS collected at the individual cow level. Moving the cows to summer farms improved curd firming traits but reduced cheese yields because of an increase of water and fat lost in the whey. During summer grazing, most of cheese-making traits improved, often non-linearly. The milk from summer farms supplementing cows with more concentrates showed better curd firming and cheese yield, because of lower fat lost in the whey. The breed of cows affected almost all the traits with a worst cheese-making ability for milk samples of Holsteins through all the trial, and interacted with concentrate supplementation because increasing compound feed tended to improve cheese-making traits for all breed, with the exception of local breeds for coagulation time and of Brown Swiss for curd firming time. In general, summer transhumance caused a favourable effect on cheese-making aptitude of milk, even though with some difference according to parity, initial days in milk, breed and concentrate supplementation of cows.


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