Estimation of daily and total lactation milk yield of Chios ewes from single morning or evening records

Z Basdagianni, G Banos*, Z Abas, G Arsenos, GE Valergakis, D Zygoyiannis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Linear models were developed and evaluated for the estimation of daily (24 h) and total lactation milk yield of dairy sheep from single morning (am) or evening (pm) milking records. A total of 22,908 individual test-day milk records of 5110 ewes of the Chios breed, raised in 46 flocks, were used. Depending on the model, different daily milk yield estimates were derived for each ewe, accounting for lactation number, stage of lactation, season of previous lambing and interval between successive milkings. Daily milk yield was also estimated from doubling the single am or pm record. Actual and estimated yields were compared using root mean square errors (RMSEs), mean absolute differences, an accuracy parameter defined as the ratio of the actual yield variance over the sum of the variances of actual yield and absolute difference, and the product moment correlation between estimated and actual yield. Results were validated on independent datasets. Linear models resulted in less biased and more accurate estimates of the daily milk yield than simply doubling the am or pm record. Root mean square errors decreased by 7-37% and the mean absolute difference was reduced by 1-4% of the average daily yield. Higher accuracy and correlation were obtained from linear model application than doubling. Total lactation milk yield was predicted based on actual daily yield and compared to predictions based on estimated daily yield from am or pm records, as well as directly on single milking records. Root mean square errors obtained when daily yield had been estimated with linear models were 26-35% lower compared to doubling the am or pm yield and 0-13% lower compared to estimating the total lactation yield directly from single milking records. Linear model application also resulted in lower mean absolute difference and higher accuracy and correlation than doubling the am or pm record. Recording the yield of a single milking (am or pm) instead of both can benefit milk recording by reducing its cost and increasing farmer participation. In this context, linear models developed in the present study can be used for the accurate estimation of daily (24 h) and total lactation milk yield from single milking records. (c) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
JournalLivestock Production Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2005


  • dairy sheep
  • Chios breed
  • morning-evening milking
  • daily (24 h) milk yield
  • lactation milk yield
  • milk recording
  • FAT


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