Supplementing diets of Awassi ewes with olive cake and tomato pomace: on-farm recovery of effects on yield, composition and fatty acid profile of the milk
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Two experiments were carried out in Syria with the purpose of investigating to which extent the effects of including 30 % olive cake (replacing parts of forage and concentrate) or tomato pomace (replacing concentrate) in the diet, described under controlled on-station conditions, can be recovered on farm. A total of 180 lactating Awassi ewes (three farms per experiment, 15 ewes per treatment) were fed either control diets or test feed diets over a period of 7 weeks. Milk yield was measured bi-weekly and milk composition was analysed for gross physicochemical composition and fatty acid (FA) profile. Both feeds reduced milk yield (−10 %) and milk protein content, whereas milk fat content was increased by tomato pomace. Both feeds resulted in similar changes in milk FA profile, namely less saturated and polyunsaturated FA and more monounsaturated FA including 18:1 trans FA. Tomato pomace and olive cake also resulted in increased n-6:n-3 FA ratios, while the proportion of the conjugated linoleic acids was not affected by either treatment. In conclusion, the response of the ewes on farm was clear and similar in nature for most of milk-related traits as that found on station, but lower in magnitude.