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Simulation of livestock farming systems: A review of sheep models at animal, herd and farm levels



Simulation of livestock farming systems: A review of sheep models at animal, herd and farm levels



Investigacion Agraria Produccion y Sanidad Animales 10(3): 243-272



Dynamic simulation models are suitable tools to use in the study of extensive livestock farming systems and in the economic and technical evaluation of different management policies, both on an individual farm level and on a regional scale. Nevertheless, the majority of models developed represent only individual, isolated elements of the system, which enormously limits their application in the real world. To overcome this inconvenience the scope of the models needs to be expanded via the integration of the biological, economic and sociocultural subsystems. In the present piece of work we carry out a bibliographical revision of the models developed up until now in the case of sheep systems on different levels of aggregation: the individual animal (voluntary ingestion, nutrient partition); the flock (animal reproduction, grazing system, etc.) and finally the farm and the regional planning of resources. At the same time we discuss the possibilities of applying these models to Spanish extensive sheep farming systems.

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