Edited By: N Picinelli and J Boyazoglu
This text contains the proceedings of the scientific one-day workshop on the margin of the 28th World Charolais Congress. The theme was the role of specialized beef breeds in extensive husbandry systems of suckling cows. The experiences and research information collected through major cross-breeding experiments undertaken at the Instituto Zootecnico e Caseario of Sardinia during the last 30 years, served as background and as a regional reference case study to the proceedings of the meeting. The workshop's main objective was the evaluation of extensive cattle husbandry production systems and the conservation and optimal use of cows to the local hardy breeds which now have a recognized importance and role to play in the world's more difficult livestock producing zones. Favouring the extensive production systems of suckling cows should be a priority in these marginal regions. The optimal management of cattle under extensive grazing conditions must still be discovered, or at least, rediscovered, in each particular case and in relation to the specific natural resources and human factors present. For Europe and the Mediterranean basin, the main problem of the extensive beef sector is resisting the pressure from countries known for their low costs and inexpensive means of production. To suceed, viable economic results which are also socially acceptable need to be achieved. This implies better farming structures, lower production costs, a critical analysis of the necessary inputs, economic feeding policies and an optimal valorization of the products marketed.
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