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Productive and territorial management of dairy cattle farms in Cantabria, according to the grass ‑fed content in the diet

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Authors: Francisca Ruiz‑Escudero, Ibán Vázquez‑González, Juan Busqué‑Marcos y Ana Villar‑Bonet
Issue: 120-1 (30-50)
Topic: Animal Production
Keywords: dairy cattle, grass ‑fed, productive behaviour, territorial structure, multiple correspondence analysis

In the last decades there has been a significant decline in small and medium-sized cattle farming, the vast majority in Cantabria, where pastures and land management play an important role. Given the importance of pastures in this territory and the lack of studies that address the connection between the territorial basis and the feeding system of dairy cattle farms, the aim of this study was to analyse the correspondence between production systems and territory, in terms of green fodder consumption. The 99 dairy farms in the study were classified according to the percentage of green forage as a percentage of dry matter in the spring diet of lactating cows: herds without green forage (<25 %, NFV) and with green forage (≥25 %, FV). A multiple correspondence analysis was carried out to examine the relationships between this diet, the main productive characteristics and some territorial variables with statistical significance (p < 0.05). The results showed that dairy cattle farms in the group (≥25 % FV) are characterized by smaller territorial size, herd size, stocking rate, annual production and concentrate utilization while spending more on grazing. From a territorial point of view, they are located at a higher altitude, have larger, more continuous and geometrical plots, but also a soil with a lower agricultural quality. The multiple correspondence analysis showed a strong association between diet and productive variables, less intense in the case of territorial variables.


Ruiz‑Escudero F., Vázquez‑González I., Busqué‑Marcos J., Villar‑Bonet A. (2024). Manejo productivo y territorial de las ganaderías lecheras de Cantabria según el contenido de forraje en la dieta. ITEA‑Información Técnica Económica Agraria 120(1): 30-50.

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