Friday, June 2, 2023

Animal health, a condition for producing quality fibres

Animal health is a central aspect in the production of fibers, while providing better conditions for the animals and obtaining a better quality of the final product. A team of researchers from INTA Bariloche evaluates the association between both aspects in the Angora goat with the aim of improving product quality in a comprehensive and ethical way, systematizing management practices and increasing production rates.

The quality of the fibers is associated with all those characteristics that are important in the industrial process and the final product. In addition to the fineness and the comb yield, there is another important variable which is the fiber average diameter (DMF), which indicates the quality and the main price of the fiber, and it is a value that can be significantly reduced under the pressing conditions.

“The knowledge of the natural behavior of animals, as well as the factors that generate the response to stress, are essential for better management and capacity”, said Maria Mercedes Odeón -IFAB (INTA-CONICET) researcher- and added that to collect this information and explain the state of animal health, different conventional tools such as behavioral studies, physiological and biochemical measurements of variables or hormone levels.

Animal health, a condition for producing quality fibres

sheep’s wool Its quality can be significantly reduced under stressful conditions.

Cortisol is the main hormone-based response and can be assessed in different types of samples, such as blood, saliva, urine and feces. In this line, the team from the animal production area of ​​INTA Bariloche has carried out an experiment to measure cortisol in hair fibers and the historical activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is the main system involved in the stress response. .

The concentration of cortisol in a fiber is a marker of the stress “history” of that fiber over time. “Cortisol, which accumulates in the blood in the fiber every day”, indicates Odeon, and at the same time confirms that this quantity is a very useful tool, because the sampling procedure is simple, minimally invasive, and allows to identify prolonged periods. one example.

Knowledge of the natural behavior of animals, as well as the factors that generate the stress response, are essential for better management and capacity.

Maria Mercedes Odeon.
IFAB (INTA-CONICET) researcher.

“This is important to be able to assess chronic stress, which is any type of stress that lasts for weeks or months.” We are interested in weighing it at what moment or in what way it produces the procedure and allows us to find a probable cause”, pointed out the researcher.

Stress conditions have a very high biological cost for the animal that, in order to respond to stress, uses energy from other vital functions such as immune response, reproduction, body development or fiber production: “to quantify this hormone that indicates stress is a new tool that allows us to evaluate well-being in this way in which conventional assessments could not”.

Animal health, a condition for producing quality fibres

It happens. INTA Bariloche to measure cortisol in sheep hair fibers.

Mohair fiber tests

Angora goats in northern Patagonia are raised in a wide range of systems highly affected by environmental and management conditions. The production of Mohair fiber is one of the main results of this activity, and DMF is the variable that determines its quality.

The experiment with Mohair specimens was carried out by 14 Angora goats, which were raised under great conditions in the Pilcaniyeu Experimental Field of INTA Bariloche and continued during the winter period with free-range grazing.

Animal health, a condition for producing quality fibres

sheep Stressful additions have a very high biological cost for the animal.

Animals consumed a balanced diet each morning and consumption was recorded throughout the trial. The samples of the hair fiber of the wicks were different, compared and it was determined that cortisol was withdrawn in the field period higher than in the period of the style of feeding. With the administration of the animals in the pen, there was a greater supply of nutrients at the follicular level, an increase in the average fiber diameter and less stress for the animals.

According to Odeón, this tool made it possible to realize that the barrier in the corrals does not generate a greater force than those described in the field and considered that “for the animals it is more important to have access to shelter, food and water in the face. The trouble that I could experience. “generate custody”.

For animals there is more access to shelter, in the face of food and water is a disadvantage, which can cause barriers.

Maria Mercedes Odeon.
IFAB (INTA-CONICET) researcher.

A small ruminant production chain requires the incorporation of ethical and sustainable production standards, not only as innovation and value addition, but fundamentally to monitor and satisfy the demands and expectations of society regarding animal management. In this context, it is more and more important to carry out studies that link the quality of wool, its relationship with the environment and the system where it is produced.

at INTA.

Animal health, a condition for producing quality fibres

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