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Buttigieg, Mauro (2015) A study of the trends in the Maltese bovine husbandry sector following European Union accession. [Tesi di dottorato]

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Abstract (inglese)

The creation of one centralised National Livestock Database (NLD) for the islands of Malta and Gozo was of crucial importance in the identification and traceability of bovines from 2002 to date. It was also important in covering legal obligations following Malta’s accession to the European Union (EU) in May 2004. This thesis describes how the processes of identification, registration and traceability of bovines have changed following Malta’s accession to the EU. The validation and integration of data originating from the different departmental sections such as the Identification and Registration section, the slaughterhouse and the National Veterinary Laboratory ensures that any discrepancies are highlighted and can be investigated. The various events recorded on the database allow for the cross-checking of compliance and eligibility of bovine producers applying for EU benefits. The main drawbacks and weak points of the system include financial costs for the government department, potentially late notification of births and deaths of new born calves and the insufficient uptake in the use of the latest technology by bovine producers for the notification of events such as births, deaths and movement of bovines.

The fact that the NLD is a computerised and centralised system has made collection, management and analysis of data possible. As a result principles of data mining have been used in this thesis to study in detail ten year trends in the number of bovine dairy holdings together with the bovine population on these holdings and to compare these trends with those reported in other European countries. Six trends related to the number of bovine dairy holdings and their bovine population were analysed in the study: the trend in the number of dairy holdings on the Maltese Islands; the trend in the total number of bovines on dairy holdings; the trend in the number of female bovines over two years of age (F>2y); the trend in the average bovine population (average herd size) on dairy holdings; the trend in the average number of female bovines over two years of age; the trend in the number of female and male bovines and their ratios.

The general trends showed that there was a significant decrease in the number of dairy holdings, in the bovine population and in the number of female bovines greater than 2 years of age on dairy holdings during the study period. The average herd size and the average number of females greater than 2 years of age on the individual dairy holdings showed no statistically significant changes. On the other hand, a significant increase in the ratio of female to male bovines was registered on these holdings.

In the final part of this thesis, data on calf deaths was used to determine the overall mortality rates of live born calves up to 180 days of age in dairy herds on the islands of Malta and Gozo. This is the first time that data using the NLD is being used to determine the calf mortality rates from the whole dairy population of Malta and Gozo. Furthermore, five risk factors namely the island of birth, sex of calf, average herd size, the year and the season of birth were also studied. The data set used in the study consisted of a total of 44,078 calves born between 1 January 2004 and 31 December 2011.

From this dataset, 28,848 calves were born in Malta and 15,230 in Gozo. In total 2,821 calves were registered as having died before reaching 180 days of age. The overall calf mortality rate in live born calves up to 180 days of age was found to be 7.08%. In Malta the overall mortality rate was 6.05% and in Gozo 8.80% (P<0.001). The overall mortality rate was 8.50% for male calves and 6.00% for females (P<0.001). Holdings with a lower average herd size had a significantly lower calf mortality rate (P = 0.01) whereas no significant difference was found when the season of birth was taken into consideration. A significant difference (P<0.001) was present when calf mortality was stratified by the year of birth, with the last three years of the study having a lower mortality rate than the first five years.

Abstract (italiano)

La creazione di un database nazionale centralizzato per bovini (NLD: National Livestock Database) per le isole di Malta e Gozo è risultato di importanza cruciale per l’identificazione e la rintracciabilità dei bovini dal 2002 ad oggi. Divenne inoltre un obbligo legislativo a seguito dell'adesione di Malta all'Unione Europea (UE) nel maggio 2004.

La presente Tesi descrive come i processi di identificazione, registrazione e tracciabilità dei bovini siano cambiati dopo l’adesione di Malta all'UE. La validazione e l'integrazione dei dati provenienti da diverse sezioni dipartimentali, come la sezione di identificazione e registrazione dei bovini, il macello ed il laboratorio veterinario nazionale, assicurano che le eventuali discrepanze siano evidenziate e possano essere investigate. I vari eventi registrati nel database consentono inoltre il controllo incrociato di conformità ed ammissibilità degli allevatori ai benefici previsti dall’EU. I principali svantaggi ed i punti deboli del sistema sono rappresentati dagli alti costi finanziari per il dipartimento del governo, dalle notifiche di nascite e morte talvolta tardive e dalle difficoltà di implementazione tecnologica da parte degli allevatori, necessaria per la notifica degli eventi come nascite, decessi e movimentazione dei bovini stessi.

Tuttavia, la gestione computerizzata e centralizzata della NLD ha permesso un’efficiente raccolta, elaborazione ed analisi dei dati. Pertanto, con la presente Tesi è stato possibile studiare l’evoluzione nel numero di aziende di bovine da latte in tali popolazioni negli ultimi 10 anni, la numerosità di capi nelle aziende stesse e confrontare questi dati con quelli segnalati in altri paesi Europei. Nello studio sono stati analizzati 6 fattori legati alla numerosità degli allevamenti ed al numero di capi per allevamento: il trend del numero di aziende di bovine da latte sulle isole maltesi; il trend del numero totale dei bovini da latte nelle aziende; il trend del numero di bovine femmine superiori ai due anni di età (F > 2y); il trend delle dimensioni medie delle mandrie; l'andamento del numero medio di bovine femmine superiori ai 2 anni di età su ogni allevamento; l'andamento del numero di bovine femmine e maschi e il rapporto femmine-maschi.

I risultati generali indicano che durante il periodo di studio si è verificata una diminuzione significativa del numero di aziende di bovine da latte come pure della popolazione bovina complessiva, ed in particolare nel numero di bovine superiori ai 2 anni di età. Le dimensioni delle mandrie ed il numero medio di femmine superiori ai 2 anni di età su ogni allevamento non hanno mostrato variazioni statisticamente significative. D'altra parte, un aumento significativo del rapporto femmine-maschi è stato registrato in queste aziende.

Nella parte finale della presente Tesi sono stati presentati i dati sui decessi, necessari per evidenziare il tasso di mortalità fino ai 180 giorni di età dei vitelli nati vivi in allevamenti presenti nelle isole di Malta e Gozo; tali elaborazioni sulla mortalità risultano ancor più rilevanti dal momento che questi risultati rappresentano i primi dati elaborati e presentati da quando è presente il NLD in tali popolazioni di Malta e Gozo. Sono stati inoltre analizzati 5 fattori di rischio: isola di nascita, sesso del vitello, dimensione media della mandria, anno di nascita e stagione di nascita. Il set di dati utilizzato nello studio era composto da un totale di 44.078 vitelli nati tra il 1 gennaio 2004 ed il 31 dicembre 2011.

Da questo dataset, 28.848 vitelli sono nati a Malta e 15.230 a Gozo. In totale, 2.821 vitelli sono stati registrati come morti prima di raggiugere i 180 giorni di età, con un tasso di mortalità complessivo in vitelli nati vivi fino a 180 giorni di età pari al 7.08%, con una differenza statisticamente significativa (P< 0.001) tra Malta e Gozo, 6.05% ed 8.80%, rispettivamente. Il tasso di mortalità generale è risultato del 8,50% per vitelli maschi e 6,00% per le femmine. Aziende con una dimensione della mandria relativamente bassa hanno presentato un tasso di mortalità dei vitelli significativamente inferiore (P = 0.01) a quelle piu numerose. Nessuna differenza significativa è stata riscontrata in merito alla stagione di nascita, mentre delle differenze sono state evidenziate in merito alla mortalità a seconda dell’anno di nascita, dove gli ultimi 3 anni dello studio hanno mostrato un tasso di mortalità piu basso rispetto ai precedenti 5 anni.

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Tipo di EPrint:Tesi di dottorato
Relatore:Gianesella, Matteo
Correlatore:James, Andrew
Dottorato (corsi e scuole):Ciclo 27 > scuole 27 > SCIENZE VETERINARIE
Data di deposito della tesi:17 Gennaio 2015
Anno di Pubblicazione:31 Gennaio 2015
Parole chiave (italiano / inglese):malta;bovine population;European Union accession;calf mortality rates
Settori scientifico-disciplinari MIUR:Area 07 - Scienze agrarie e veterinarie > VET/08 Clinica medica veterinaria
Struttura di riferimento:Dipartimenti > Dipartimento di Medicina Animale, Produzioni e Salute
Codice ID:7485
Depositato il:16 Nov 2015 15:03
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