2016 Graduate Student Grants
Sustainable year-round sheep milking management
Nikola Kochendoerfer, Cornell University, Ithaca NY
Faculty Advisor: Michael Thonney
The demand for sheep dairy products is increasing, and this project will investigate the possibility, productivity, and sustainability of milking non-dairy sheep flocks year-round under the STAR accelerated lambing system, a schedule of breeding developed at Cornell, that allows ewes to lamb five times in three years. Milking aseasonally breeding non-dairy ewes in short lactations could achieve similar milk yields year round and more lambs than ewes in one annual lactation. The student will determine optimal diets for milking meat breeds and evaluate the sustainability of milking meat sheep by assessing optimal dietary levels of fermentable fiber, milking behavior, health problems, lambing rates, survival, and by comparing yield and components of dairy breeds to meat breeds. She also will use her data to update SheepFlock, an economic model developed at Cornell, to provide guidelines for nutritional values, productivity, and costs.
Project number: GNE16-123