Effect of the Lactation Months on Milk Composition of the Second-Parity Lacaune Ewes
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This research aims to determine the chemical composition of Lacaune ewe milk produced in Estonia, as well as the correlations and the influence the stages of lactation have on milk. The study was carried out on fifty-one second-parity ewes. The analysis involved a total of 178 milk samples collected monthly from the second to the seventh month of lactation. Milk analyses included the determination of the contents of total solids, fat, total protein, casein, casein index, lactose, ash, P, Ca, K, Na, Mg, somatic cell count and pH. The Lacaune ewes’ milk contained on average 18.62% total solids, 7.75% fat, 5.74% total protein, 4.32% casein, 4.76% lactose, 0.89% ash, 160.26 mg 100 g -1 Ca, 140.07 mg 100 g -1 P, 135.21 mg 100 g -1 K, 46.44 mg 100 g -1 Na, 17.66 mg 100 g -1 Mg. Overall means for casein index, pH value and somatic cell scores were 75.35%, 6.61 and 12.62, respectively. It was found that the month of lactation significantly affected almost all monitored traits except somatic cell score, casein index and Ca content. The contents of total solids, fat, total protein, casein, ash, P, and Mg increased, while the lactose content, and pH value decreased with the advancing lactation. Sodium content was highest and potassium content lowest value during mid-lactation. Producers must take into account that the composition of Lacaune ewe milk depends on the stage of lactation and may, therefore, affect the production process and the final quality of the product.