Improved milk quality destined for local cheese production: grazing management with dairy sheep in mountain areas

Practice abstract


In the mountainous area of ​​the Alta Langa, in Piedmont region (Italy), a sheep farmer uses a scientific approach for the sustainable management of his farm forage surfaces. Moreover, he does not use chemical fertilizers, he carries out the soil minimum tillage and the sheep reproduction follows the natural life cycle of the animal. The forage area is divided between two grass-legume mixtures, which component species has been chosen for their positive effects on the quality of the milk in terms of fatty acids, colour and taste. The first mixture is perennial, based on Festuca arundinacea, Lolium perenne, Trifolium repens, Lotus corniculatus. The other mixture is annual, based on Trifolium incarnatum, Avena sativa, and Vicia sativa. Regardless their use (grazing or hay production), the forage areas are managed under the supervision of an expert to maximize yield and nutritional quality. The breeding of the local sheep “Pecora delle Langhe” allows the farmer to enhance the quality of the cheese and the link with the territory. Pastures are the only feeding of the lactating sheep. In fact, concentrates are not used. This new approach has brought significant productive and economic benefits to the farmer. For instance, he obtained:

  • The improvement of the quality of cheese (taste, taste and contents);
  • Wider range of processed cheeses;
  • The increase of the cheese price;
  • The improvement of the general economic conditions, and the possibility to start a B&B business.

However, some farmer’s difficulties remain:

  • How to increase product sales;
  • obtaining private or public subsidies for the expansion of agricultural activity;
  • variable milk production along the year due to lactaction seasonality.

Abstract also available in:

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Additional information

Farming system

conventional farming

Domains of innovation

animal feeding management, farm system, grazing management system

Main types of animal

dairy sheep, meat sheep



Product type

Practice abstract



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