Animal husbandry systems: animal production, environment, and food of animal origin

A.Y. 2018/2019
8
Max ECTS
80
Overall hours
SSD
AGR/18 AGR/19
Language
Italian
Learning objectives
First aim of the course is to provide information and knowledge on the influence of animal husbandry on the territory and the environment, underlying the strong relationships with other areas such as pedology, agronomy, economy. Several practical examples of the positive or negative influence of animal production on the environment in different situations (intensive, semi-extensive, extensive systems) will help the student to learn, but also to develop a critical approach in the evaluation process. This will be essential when and if he/she will be implicated in a private or public process of decision/management. Second aim of the course is to analyze different aspects of the quality of food of animal origin and to study the influence of husbandry systems on quality of animal products.
Expected learning outcomes
After passing the exam, the student will have acquired knowledge and expertise in terms of methodological and executive approach as far as animal production and environment are concerned. Particularly, he/she will have a more clear and holistic view of the issue (animal husbandry and the environment) and will be able to face it, together with experts of the different areas involved. In addition the student will have acquired tools and methodologies to assess and manage quality issues in the production of animal derived food at farm level, for technical or managerial activities with farms, food industries, retails.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
First semester
Unit 1
Course syllabus
Programme of the teaching unit 1: Animal production and the environment Overview of the different livestock production systems in Italy and in the world, with their assets and critical points. Among the assets: the load of organic matter to the soil with an increased soil fertility, and, depending on the type of livestock system, the contribution to maintain a various, diversified environment, with open space and vegetable and animal biodiversity. Among the critical aspects: the risk of overgrazing, an excessive nitrogen and phosphorus excretion if the livestock density is too high, with a consequent nitrate leaching in groundwater and ammonia emission from the slurries to the air. E.U. Nitrate Directive and its practical consequences on animal production in Italy and particularly in Lombardy region will be thoroughly analysed. Phosphorus excretion by animals and the associated environmental risks will be investigated, as well as greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions and feeding and managing techniques able to reduce their impact. Animal husbandry in the mountain and its effects on the environment will be considered also (to preserve landscape, biodiversity and prevent landslides) as well as animal production and the use of water. Additive and heavy metals residues from animal feeding and management will be analysed. Examples of animal husbandry techniques and biodiversity will be given. Finally diets and feeding systems specially focused on minimize the environmental impact of both dairy and beef cattle and pigs will be presented and discussed.
Teaching methods
Learning material of the teaching unit 1: Animal production and the environmentMinutes of the lessonsScientific papers, divulgative articles and texts (in Italian and English) available in ARIEL
Unit 2
Course syllabus
Safety of animale derived food: foodborne diseases; risks from bacteria, viruses, parasites and prions; hygiene hypothesis; risks from mycotoxins, persistent organic pollutants, haevy metals, veterinary drugs, antibiotics, hormones, OGM in feedingstuffs; controlling contamination risks in the production of milk, meat and eggs at farm level and during transport and slaughtering. Composition of animal derived food: characteristics of fat in milk, meat, eggs and fish (fatty acid composition and potential for manipulating), nitrogen components of milk (polimorphisms, allergy and intolerance, biopeptides, potential for manipulating). Calcium in milk. Iron in meat. Legal and policy framework.
Teaching methods
- Notes from the course lessons - - Online material on ARIEL UNIMI, Sistemi di allevamento animale website
Unit 1
AGR/18 - ANIMAL NUTRITION AND FEEDING - University credits: 4
Field activity: 16 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
Unit 2
AGR/19 - ANIMAL SCIENCE - University credits: 4
Field activity: 16 hours
Lessons: 24 hours
Professor(s)
Reception:
On appointment
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali, sez. Zootecnia
Reception:
by appointment
Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences - Via Celoria 2