The farm in Asturias (North West of Spain) is located in the Atlantic region on an altitude of around 65 m a.s.l. Total annual precipitation averages 983 mm and temperature 14.1°C. The highest daily temperatures and the lowest total rainfall frequently occur around June, July, August and September.
The pastures are improved grasslands which are sown with a mixture of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) and white clover (Trifolium repens). The Case Study Farm flock is around 36 crossbred (Gallega*Latxa) adult females which are naturally inseminated.
The farm runs experiments on animal nutrition and production with beef cattle and small ruminants, including ecological studies and/or silvopastoral systems. The potential of new added value products, forage varieties and forest crops are also tested.
The Agriculture Technological Institute of Castilla y León (ITACyL) is a research institute owned by the Government of Castilla y León ascribed to the Department of Agriculture and Livestock. The Institute was created with the aim of boosting the activity of the agricultural and livestock sector and its transformation industries, as well as stimulates technological innovation and initiatives which entail new productive orientations and adaptation to changes in the market.
The head-quarters of ITACyL are located in Valladolid (Spain), where the main facilities (laboratories, greenhouses, experimental fields) are located, but it has also seven research units distributed across Castilla y León.
The Livestock Research Group at ITACyL has a broad experience in the study and the improvement of animal performance of ruminants (meat, milk, behaviour) through feeding, reproduction and management and their relationship with animal health and welfare. They also have competitive skills in the implementation of novel information and communication technologies to the common management practices applied to livestock. Recently, an ambitious study on energy efficiency in dairy sheep and cattle farms has been developed in order to improve their energy efficiency and reduce production costs (www.enerlacteo.com).
Raúl Bodas (BVSc, PhD) is a researcher in ruminant science at ITACyL. His research lines are focused on relationship between animal feeding, performance, welfare, health and product quality (meat, milk). He has experience in conducting research with fattening lambs and dairy sheep and is a member of the EIP-AGRI Focus Group on “Robust and resilient dairy production systems”.