Economic values for production and functional traits in Valle del Belice dairy sheep using profit functions

M. Tolone*, V. Riggio, D. O. Maizon, B. Portolano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A deterministic static model was used to estimate the economic values (EV) of production (MY, milk yield; BW, birth weight; and ADG, average daily gain) and functional traits (ASR, adult survival rate; LSR, lamb survival rate; FE, fertility; PR, prolificacy; and LW(ewe), mature weight of ewe) in Valle del Belice dairy sheep. In this study, values for the biological parameters and the production traits used in the model were taken from real data, by surveying 15 Valle del Bence farmers and reflected the production circumstances of pasture based dairy production systems. In this system feed cost accounted for 95% of total variable costs, whereas fixed costs were low and reflected traditional and small ruminants' husbandry system. A base situation with a fixed number of animals was considered to estimate the EV for the traits considered in this study. Economic values were positive for production traits: (sic) 0.31 (MY, kg), (sic) 4.40 (BW, kg) and (sic) 0.15 (ADG, g) and for functional traits: (sic) 2.15 (ASR, %), (sic) 0.78 (LSR,%). (sic) 2.64 (FE, %), (sic) 0.39 (PR, %), except for LW(ewe) that was negative ((sic) -0.08, kg). Sensitivity analysis of EV to changes in prices indicated that future economic values for traits might change dependent on output and price levels, in particular on milk and meat price level. This study suggests that genetic improvement of milk production, lamb and adult survival rate, fertility and prolificacy will have a positive effect on profitability of pasture based dairy production system. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-47
Number of pages7
JournalSmall Ruminant Research
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


  • Sheep
  • Breeding objectives
  • Economic values
  • Profit function
  • MILK


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