cod. 23845

Academic year 2019/20
2° year of course - Second semester
- Andrea SUMMER
Academic discipline
Zootecnica speciale (AGR/19)
Discipline della zootecnica, allevamento e nutrizione animale
Type of training activity
44 hours
of face-to-face activities
3 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Integrated course unit module: Special zootechnics

Learning objectives

D1 – Knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course, the student will be able to have:
1. Knowledge and understanding about the key elements of morphofunctional evaluation of cattle.
2. Knowledge and understanding about the characteristics of the breeding of dairy cow, of calves and heifers and the different types of housing and milking.
3. Knowledge and understanding about the physico chemical and technological properties of cow's milk, and the factors influencing its variations.

D2 – applying knowledge and understanding
At the end of the course, applying the knowledge and understanding acquired, also working with farmers and other professionals, the student will be able to:
1. Contribute to the proper management of a dairy cows farm
2. Contribute to the prevention of problems that can happen in a dairy cow herd
3. Know how to detect and interpret the main parameters of a dairy cow farm.
From the portfolio, the student must also demonstrate to be able to make:
-Age determination of dairy cows
-BCS evaluation of dairy cows
-Morphofunctional evaluation of dairy cows
-Filling of Stud-book and/or passport of dairy cows
-Official milk sampling: Reading and interpretation of analysis certificate.

D3 – Making judgements
At the end of the course, the student will be able to:
1. To evaluate the livestock requirements of a dairy cattle breeding;
2. Give opinions on the morpho-functional evaluation of dairy cattle

D4 – Communication skills
At the end of the course, the student will be able to:
1. Express clearly and with appropriate terminology during description of concepts concerning the characteristics of a dairy cattle breeding.
2. Read, translate and explain scientific papers written in Italian and English.

D5 – Learning skills
At the end of the course, the student will be able to:
1. Learn concepts relative to the dairy cattle breeding;
2. To find and learn autonomously the new scientific guidelines on the dairy cows breeding;
3. Assess the impact of the different breeding variables on farming management.


Prerequisites: 1005122 - Anatomia Normale Veterinaria and 1004812 - Zootecnica Generale e Miglioramento Genetico

Course unit content

The first part of the course is focused on morpho-functional evaluation of cattle: Regions in the head, in the trunk, in the fore legs and related defects, in the hind legs and related defects. First elements of animal mechanics and stance evaluation. Weighing and measurements. Morphologic evaluation.
The second part of the course focuses on breeding of dairy cows, calves and heifers. Also describes the different types of housing and the different types of milking systems.
The third part of the course takes into consideration the quantitative and qualitative characteristics of bovine milk, the different factors of milk variation and milk quality payment system.

Full programme

Bovine morpho-functional evaluation elements. Brachimorphous, dolicomorphous and mesomorphous typologies. Cattle coats. Morpho-functional evaluation methods of animals and report cards. Regions in the head. Regions in the trunk. Regions in the fore legs and related defects. Regions in the hind legs and related defects. First elements of animal mechanics and stance evaluation. Weighing and measurements. Morphologic evaluation.

Dairy cattle breeding and milk production. Dairy cow consistence and possible productions. Productive cicle of dairy cow. Dairy cow breeding organisation. Calf breeding for replacement. Heifer breeding. Dairy cow breeding. Culling and replacement. Causes of cow culling. Cow housing types: tie-stall and free-stall. Machine milking. Milking systems: milking equipment for cowsheds and milking installations for milking parlours.

Milk quality and properties and variation factors. Milk chemical composition. Milk proteins. Milk physico-chemical properties. Variation factors in milk production: genetic factors, physiological factors, feeding factors, pathological factors climatic conditions and management. Principles of milk production legislation. Milk quality payment.

Guided tours to cattle herds.


AA:VV. Benessere Animale . Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale Umbria e Marche Editore, 2010
BITTANTE G., ANDRIGHETTO L., RAMANZIN M.: Tecniche di produzione animale. Liviana Ed., Torino, 1993
MONETTI P.G.: Allevamento dei bovini e dei suini. Cristiano Giraldi Ed., Città di Castello (PG), 2001.
NAPOLITANO F., DE ROSA G., GRASSO F., Comportamento e benessere degli animali in produzione zootecnica. Aracne Editrice, Roma, 2007.
Slides shown at lesson
Students can find the pdf files of lessons on the Elly platform.

Teaching methods

During the lectures in the classroom, with the use of audio-visual facilities, morphological evaluation of dairy cattle, dairy cattle breeding characteristics and physico-chemical and technological properties of milk will be presented. The course will be supported by several guided tours to dairy cows farms, in order to make it clear to the student, through a direct experience in the field, the theoretical concepts discussed in the classroom. In addition, the student will be able to confront with employees in the sector in relation to dairy cows farm management.
Farms are chosen specifically with different number of animals, housing types and milking systems, and different purposes of milk production, so that the student can become familiar with all the different realities in the dairy sector. The lessons will also be supplemented by some seminars to deepen some specific issues.

Assessment methods and criteria

The assessment of the achievement of the objectives of the course is that this module is examined together with the module of Special Zootechnics B. The assessment of expected learning results described in D1 and parts of those described in D2, D3, D4 and D5, is carried out by written examination on a series of questions which will be previously provided to students, followed by an integrative oral examination. Through questions regarding the course content will be determined whether the student has achieved the goal of knowledge and understanding of the content. The students must demonstrate that they have mastered the knowledge about the morphological evaluation of farm animals, on breeding of dairy and beef cattle, on the physico-chemical and technological properties of milk, on sheep and goat, buffalo, horses and rabbit and poultry production, on animal welfare. By means of the questions in the oral examination will be determined whether the student has achieved the goal of linking the arguments and to find solutions to problems, and if it proves to have good reasoning skills and independent judgment. It will be also assessed the appropriate specific language.
The exam will take place through a first written exam that will cover 15 open questions taken randomly from a list of questions previously provided to the students.
The answers should be concise.
Each question answered correctly will give 2 points, while each question that is answered incompletely or partially incorrectly, 1 point.
Any missing or totally incorrect answer will be awarded 0 points.
Be careful that in case you did not answer 3 or more questions, the exam is considered to be not passed.
After the correction of the written exam, the student who passed it with a vote of at least 18 or above will support an oral discussion that will focus primarily on the questions of his written exam, and will be also asked cross-questions or questions on solving problems inherent in themes of the program, in order to verify the acquired skills. The oral discussion will be evaluated with the attribution of no more than 5 points, to be added to the vote of the script.
For students with DSA, appropriate compensatory and dispensatory measures will be implemented.

Other information

- - -